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Royal Air Force – Joint Winner 2018, Best Public Sector Employer

Retaining talented personnel is key for the Royal Air Force. The organization are constantly looking at new and innovative ways of being an employer of choice.  

Key Points

  • 26 weeks’ full pay for maternity, adoption and Shared Parental Leave 
  • 200 personnel taken up SPL since its introduction 
  • 96.3% of servicewomen return after a period of maternity leave. 

The RAF now has a long list of flexible working and leave policies to help service personnel find the work life balance they need. 

Being able to reduce their commitment and work less than full-time for a period in the Armed Forces is on the agenda which has required a change in the law. 

The RAF promotes a flexible working culture with personnel regularly accessing formal flexible working arrangements, such as variable start and finish times or informal flexible working arrangements, such as ad-hoc time off for school events or appointments. 

To help increase flexible working participation, the RAF regularly publishes infographics updating personnel on the types of flexible working available to them and the number of personnel taking advantage of the policies. 

A New Parent Pack includes tools to help parents plan maternity, paternity, adoption and Shared Parental Leave. There are also booklets specifically for line managers to help them support their personnel. 

The RAF offers generous maternity, adoption and Shared Parental Leave packages with 26 weeks on full pay.  

Service families are given priority places in RAF childcare facilities, contributes towards boarding school fees and are compensated for moving costs on posting.  

The RAF protects mothers from deployment for the first 18 months after their baby is born and mothers can access physical trainers qualified in pre and postnatal fitness. 

The RAF’s retention rate for mothers returning after maternity leave is high at 96.3 per cent. 

Shared Parental Leave has been well promoted and received, with 200 personnel taking it up so far. 

Take up of new flexible leave options has increased with a recent 400 per cent rise in personnel transferring leave between serving spouses and a 100 per cent increase in those ‘calling forward’ leave from the next year. 

The financial benefit of Armed Forces Shared Parental Leave is the main reason we have felt secure enough to take a whole year off to bond with each child. We both feel strongly that time with our two children is the most important thing in our lives. It is what we work for. We also feel that doing this together creates a stronger family unit for us.

Serving RAF couple.