Accenture

What contractual pay is offered to mothers* on maternity leave? 32 weeks full pay (incl. 2 weeks protected leave)
What contractual pay and leave is being offered to fathers/other parent who opt to take SPL? 32 weeks full pay (incl. 2 weeks paternity leave)
Does contractual pay have to be repaid if the employees does not to return? No
Will entitlement to SPL be reduced according to SML already taken? Yes
Is your contractual Shared Parental Pay reduced by the number of weeks of SMP received by the mother? Yes
Can SPL be taken from day one of employment? The employee must have at least 26 weeks’ continuous employment by the end of the Qualifying Week
Is it tied to the date of the child’s birth? No – the due or adoption placement date
Are there any limitations on how SPL can be taken ie minimum continuous block? Not on leave but on contractual pay.
Do you incentivise certain patterns of leave? Yes – see above.
Do you offer a bonus on return from SPL if minimum period it taken? No

*or primary adopter

 

How are you communicating and encouraging people to take SPL?

On 2 February this year, we sent a UK wide communication from our country MD and our Human Capital and Diversity sponsor with a video explaining SPL and a microsite which contained FAQs, scenarios, forms and an opportunity to attend frequent virtual workshops on SPL with our trained SPL experts. We are also promoting SPL as part of the Accent on Family (employee resource group) strategy demonstrating that Accenture’s SPL offering is one of the most generous and progressive in the UK, which should encourage significant uptake from new parents.

Can you describe what wider cultural changes needed to support SPL are being implemented?

Our overarching message (aligned with the government’s view) to our employees is that the intent of this change is to support a more equal parenting approach, and, in doing so, to improve gender balance in the workplace. SPL is seen as just one part of a cultural shift in how we embrace changing gender and parenting roles, both within Accenture, and within society at large. Whilst this change will make inroads in balancing parenting roles we need to ensure our fathers/partners in particular are supported fully, both in ensuring they are not impacted by unconscious bias in choosing to take a career break, and on their return to work. Our existing maternity and paternity programmes need to be rebranded and reworked to be inclusive of those taking SPL, continuing to fully consider our LGBT employees.

What do you expect take up of SPL amongst fathers to be? Have you surveyed your employees about SPL and uptake? Other surveys have shown that mothers may be unwilling to relinquish maternity leave: have you detected similar?

Our modelling uses the validated statistic that 11% of our male employees will become fathers in a given year and 12% of fathers will take the full 32 weeks full pay on offer, this may also manifest as a higher percentage of men taking fewer weeks. Our take-up predictions are based on government guidance and learnings from other Accenture countries with similar shared parental leave schemes.We wanted to maximise engagement during this change so throughout the process, the UK Forum (employee-nominated counsel), and our employee resource groups namely, Accent on Women, Accent on Family, as well as our UKI Executive Team (the Board), all provided input. We also extended focus groups to 400 employees, including parents with grown children, parents with young children and non-parents.When we held the focus groups the consensus was equality for all was the priority but some mothers stated that they would not wish to relinquish their time with their baby, however pockets said they would be keen on the opportunity to get back to work.

Do you have any insight into how parents might like to take SPL? Which is best for your business in terms of planning?

Our data indicates that our applicants are looking to take more than 12 weeks SPL but less than 18 weeks with a few exceptions. In business terms, and ultimately for business continuity, we would like our employees to take more than 12 weeks so we can create a predictable environment for our clients. To align with our gender balance ambitions we want our fathers/partners to take a significant amount of time out i.e. more than 12 weeks to fully understand the role of the primary carer and the challenges that this can bring so managers and future managers empathise with and support employees that take time out from their careers.