The Working Environment: Providing a family friendly environment at the University of Liverpool
Posted on: 8 March 2021 in Researchers
Sally Middleton, Gender Equality Officer, talks about the provision of a family friendly environment at the University of Liverpool.
In September 2019, the UK Research Staff Association (UKRSA) in partnership with Vitae published a leaflet on tips for researchers taking maternity, paternity, adoption or parental leave and advice for institutions and employers. This booklet included a list of 10 top tips for better family life;
Ten tips for better family leave
- Create a culture where taking time for your family is valued and respected.
- When someone takes family leave, be happy for them. Don’t treat it as a problem to be overcome.
- Develop clear and fair family leave policies for all students and staff.
- Be sensitive about the reasons people take family leave. And make sure that others are, too.
- Treat staff on fixed-term appointments as you would permanent members of staff.
- Try to ensure that fixed-term researchers taking family leave have a job to come back to.
- Implement a research advocate scheme to look after the interests of researchers on leave.
- Make sure that human resources staff are well-informed and can provide appropriate advice.
- Provide those returning from leave with flexible working options for a phased return.
- Give researchers coming back from leave a reduced teaching load, to help them to get back into their research.
Sally Middleton, Gender Equality Officer at the University of Liverpool outlines some of the provision and support that is already in place for staff for maternity, paternity, adoption or parental leave which also covers Research staff, within the University of Liverpool and how /where this information can be accessed.
University of Liverpool family friendly policies
Clear and fair family friendly policies are offered to support employees throughout their parenthood journey and guidance is also available to Managers so that they can familiarise themselves with the policies and can speak to their HR Business Partner if they require further information and support.
These policies include, Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Adoption Leave, Shared Parental Leave, Keeping in Touch (KIT/SPLiT Days), Fertility Treatment Support and Flexible Working once you return to work. In addition, we have guidance for staff who are caring for ill or disabled loved ones.
Of particular interest to researchers, the University has clear information for those on fixed term contracts regarding maternity leave which includes a flow chart to outline how your pay may be affected if i) your contract will end before Expected Week of Birth ii) Contract will end before end of Maternity Leave and iii) Contract will end 3+ months after returning from maternity leave.
Staff on fixed term contracts also have access to the Redeployment policy if they have 12 months of service.
Information is also available via the research support office on common funder policies regarding parental leave.
Family friendly advisers
Approximately 75% of departments have voluntary Family Friendly Advisers. Advisers can support any staff, male or female, who have children, are expecting a child/children or care for other loved ones. They may also provide information to managers. A list of advisers and departments they cover are available here.
Family friendly advisers can;
- Signpost staff to relevant HR policies, processes, support or facilities.
- Provide advice on basic elements of family friendly policies – more complex queries will require you to contact HR.
- They may be able to offer a ‘return to work’ informal meeting with you following a return from family related leave. This could be to discuss topics that you may not wish to discuss with your manager e.g. managing breastfeeding.
- Some Advisers are parents and carers themselves, so may be able to share their own experiences with you e.g. how they managed their return to work after a career break.
The UKRSA leaflet on tips for researchers taking maternity, paternity, adoption or parental leave and advice for institutions and employers has been shared with the Universities family friendly advisers for their reference too.
- Family friendly policies are offered to support employees throughout their parenthood journey.
- Family Friendly Advisers can support any staff, male or female, who have children, are expecting a child/children or care for other loved ones.
- The UKRSA leaflet provides tips for researchers taking maternity, paternity, adoption or parental leave and advice for institutions and employers.
- Staff on fixed term contracts also have access to the Redeployment policy if they have 12 months of service.