Coventry Building Society gives staff three days’ paid leave for family emergencies

Lucy Becque

Coventry Building Society’s 2,500 employees are being given up to three days’ additional paid leave to deal with life-changing events relating to their family or someone they care for.

Under the Employee Rights Act, employees have the right to take a reasonable amount of time off to deal with family emergencies. However, there is no requirement for paid leave in such circumstances, and the amount of leave is subject to agreement by the employer and employee.

Under Coventry Building Society’s carers’ flexibility initiative, launched in July 2018, employees are now given the three days’ paid leave in addition to their annual holiday leave.

Lucy Becque (pictured), Coventry Building Society’s HR director, said: “We understand significant life-changing events happening outside of work can have a huge impact on an employee’s general wellbeing and peace of mind. Finding the best way for home and work to fit comfortably together is an important focus for the society.

“This enhancement to our wellbeing offering provides paid time-off for more challenging life events such as helping a family member transition into a care home but also for those precious moments, such as a child starting school for the first time.”

Lynne Johnson, a customer services adviser for Coventry Building Society whose mother is in care, and who has made use of the paid leave initiative herself, said: “The new benefit is an absolute blessing. It’s really given me piece of mind.”

The carers’ flexibility initiative has been launched as part of Coventry Building Society’s overall commitment to employee wellbeing. In July 2018, the organisation was awarded a Workplace Wellbeing Charter, recognising best practice across a number of areas, including leadership, health and safety, healthy eating, absence management and mental health.

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Coventry Building Society’s wellbeing strategy is divided into three parts: mind, body and spirit.

‘Mind’ aims to support emotional and mental wellbeing, and includes childcare and eldercare support, bereavement counselling and financial advice. ‘Body’ promotes physical health, diet and hydration, with initiatives such as discounted gym membership and free fruit. Meanwhile, ‘spirit’ focuses on creating new opportunities for engaging employees with wellbeing.