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Employers of the Year 2003


Gala Awards

Winners of this year’s Employer of the year Awards presented today by Gerry Sutcliffe, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Employment Relations, range from a small engineering company in the West Midlands and a London computer training company, the Central Scotland Forest Trust, a Job Centre Plus and a borough council, to a large City financial services company.

The Parents at Work Employer of the Year Awards are designed to reward innovation and creative thinking in work-life balance.

The winners of the 2003 Awards are:

The BT Carers in Employment Award in association with Carers UK, – Telford and Wrekin Borough Council

At the Borough of Telford and Wrekin the workforce has become mainly part-time since flexible working was introduced. This has led to increased service provision and 3% staff turnover, as well as increased flexibility for carers and parents alike. As well as a range of flexible working options, the Borough provides information to staff on childcare and schools, holiday clubs for older children and prides itself on its supportive culture for carers. Breakfast meetings are banned!

The Ford Motor Company Driving Diversity AwardThe Birmingham and Solihull Job Centre Plus

Jobcentre Plus in Birmingham and Solihull has found that its ‘Diversity with Purpose’ strategy, which includes a comprehensive range of work-life balance policies, has helped it to attract and recruit a diverse workforce which is more representative of its customers, as well enabling new opening hours. Their policies include part-time and term time only working, special leave to cover domestic emergencies, a childcare co-ordinator, paternity and maternity leave allowances, career breaks, advisers working with particular communities and prayer rooms for employees. Their Work-Life Balance Toolkit is now being rolled out around the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Lloyds TSB Scotland Scottish AwardCentral Scotland Forest Trust

Work-life balance at the Central Scotland Forest Trust extends to a policy allowing employees to bring their dogs to work and a futon where employees can rest. A period of major change has recently led to a new working culture at the Trust and work-life balance is now firmly embedded throughout the organisation. Everyone – from the management team to the cleaning team – uses the highly flexible working patterns.

The NSPCC Family Friendly Award (joint winners) – Telford and Wrekin Borough Council (see above) and Happy Computers

London computer training company Happy Computers pride themselves on never having turned down a flexible working request. One employee has all the school holidays off, another – a father – works a seven day fortnight so he can share childcare with his wife. Even the MD works a compressed hours four day week. If childcare arrangements go pear-shaped, children are welcome to come into the office.

The Parents at Work Innovation Award (joint winners) – Citigroup and Farrelly Engineering & Facilities

Financial services company Citigroup say their clients benefit from their high performing, motivated employees, who recognise that Citigroup does everything it can – in a high pressure working environment – to support their personal and professional work-life balance. Citigroup’s Symmetry suite of work-life balance options include emergency back-up childcare, flexible working, multi-faith rooms and four CitiDifference diversity networks.

No one is allowed to start work before 8.30am or work later than 5pm at Farrelly Facilities & Engineering Ltd, based in Sutton Coldfield. Employees are not allowed to take work home with them either. These rules are just part of Farrelly’s extensive work-life balance policies which they say have drastically reduced staff turnover and contributed to sales figures which more than doubled last year. They make a clear link with customer service: “employees who are treated well, will treat customers well,” says Gerry Farrelly.

Parents at Work Chief Executive Sarah Jackson said: “The sheer range of our winners, from all around the UK, shows that work-life balance policy and practice can bring business benefits to any kind of organisation.”

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