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Citi, Winner 2013, The National Grid Best for all Stages of Fatherhood Award

Sector: Finance
Location: London
Employees: 8,000

Citi has had a specific strategy to support new fathers for a number of years. The company has a well developed Parents network with over 1500 members, and this network comprises a really good proportion of both fathers and mothers. This network enjoys senior sponsorship and provides a full calendar of events to support working parents of children of all ages.

Since 2009 Citi have run ‘New Dads Workshops’ aimed at new or expectant fathers which are interactive and participative classroom based sessions, led by an external partner. These aim to help new or expecting fathers navigate the challenges and opportunities of incorporating new fatherhood and working with a demanding organisation.  Within the workshops the group take time to explore their own goals and aspirations for fatherhood, how their map for fatherhood might be similar to or different to the one they inherited from their own fathers and managing boundaries with others (specifically managers and other family members).  The workshops also cover essential information on what is available to working parents to help them combine work and family life, ie: Paternity Leave and Pay, Additional Paternity Leave, Flexible Schedules, Back-Up Childcare, Childcare Vouchers, Employee Assistance Programme, and Family Cover for Private Health.  Whilst all this information is readily available on intranet sites, Citi have learned that in comparison to new mothers, fathers seem less connected to sources of information that would help.  The New Dads Workshops are offered on a quarterly basis, and the company meets the cost of providing these.  The workshops are advertised using internal news bulletins, soft-screens in public areas and by personal invitation when people have registered for Paternity Leave.

When the Government introduced Additional Paternity Leave, Citi reviewed their policy on enhanced discretionary pay (they have always offered enhanced pay for Ordinary Paternity Leave, and Ordinary Maternity Leave period is paid at full pay for the first 26 weeks.)  The introduction of a new internal APL Policy matched the same terms as their OML Maternity Policy on enhanced pay.  As APL can start when the baby is 20 weeks old, Citi enhances to full pay for the remaining six weeks of the OML period.  Since the implementation of the legislation ten fathers have taken 26 weeks APL.  To ensure that they understand as much as they can about APL, Citi have tracked their progress carefully, talking with both employees and Managers; they are keen to learn from their experience of registering for APL, their leave experience in terms of connectivity with work and at home and their return experience.

Citi has been responsive as they have learned from the experience of other fathers. They have a father who is taking six weeks Adoption Leave, to care for his adopted son as his wife transitions back to full-time work.  In learning about his story, they discovered that whilst the number of adoptive parents at Citi is low, their journey to adoption is particularly hard – and can last for between two to four years.  Through the work to better understand the experience of adoptive parents, they subsequently enhanced their adoption policy to allow for ‘time off to attend adoption appointments’.  Prior to this, all parents had been taking holiday time, whereas the policy for maternity cases is that they provide time off for ante-natal appointments.  Citi has taken the view that adoption is just another route to becoming a parent and so should be supported in the same way.

Citi understand the critical role that the manager plays in their fathers experience of their transition, offering management workshops since 2007.  Initially focused on managing maternity, the introduction of APL has seen them revise the content to be inclusive of APL (and also adoption and same sex couples), and renamed the workshop Managing Parent Leave.

The business understand the importance of tracking and monitoring take up and outcomes of their provision for fathers, as well as the importance of getting employees to record what they do. For example, 257 fathers took OPL in 2011. When they first started tracking this in 2009 only 12 fathers had registered.  Over the last few years they have significantly improved getting fathers to formally register their leave. They also record things such as the number of attendees at both the New Dads and Managing Parent Leave workshops, the number of Additional Paternity Leaves, the number of Adoption Leaves and crucially the performance ranking and annual pay decisions for those using APL. This last point demonstrates an approach that will ensure Citi has the required level of detail to embed their policies for fathers into the culture of the organisation.