Parental leave: why Allica wants parents to be parents

At the start of April this year, we set out a number of enhancements to our parental leave policies. We wanted to make sure that Allica Bank is one of the best places to work for parents of all kinds and from all family makeups.

I’ve written this piece to explain the changes, why we’ve made them, and how it all fits into the bigger picture of Allica’s commitment to helping our colleagues live balanced, healthy, happy lives.

Hopefully this can give you a better insight into the decisions we’re making, whether you’re an existing colleague or a prospective one (or someone else entirely!).

Allica Bank’s updated parental leave policies

Our aim is to support and empower parents wherever and however we can. Becoming a parent, whether for the first or the fifth time, is a really important moment in somebody’s life. We’re talking about, probably, the biggest emotional and financial decision of a lifetime. We want to support people with both sides – the financial and emotional – as they step into this stage of life.

That’s why, earlier this year, we reviewed our approach to parental leave. Compared to industry standards, we found they were good – but they still didn’t allow our colleagues the fullest range of flexibility they could have. So, in response we:

  • increased the duration of full paid maternity, adoption, and shared parental leave from 12 weeks full pay and 10 weeks half pay to 26 weeks full pay.
  • doubled our paternity leave from two weeks of full pay to four weeks. It’s just as important that fathers get quality time with their baby and their partner.
  • ensured our shared parental leave policy aligned with our maternity and adoption policies, so that families have the option you use their leave flexibly in a way that works for them best.
Ultimately, this is about respecting the people who work for Allica. We hire the best people and we want them to continue making their impact on the business, but only when they’re ready to come back, not because they feel they have to.

Why make these changes to parental leave?

These improvements are a reflection of our bigger belief about benefits – if you treat people well and fairly, they’ll stay engaged and motivated. Those employees are much more likely to stay in the business and that means their team, department, and the business as a whole get to retain their talent, knowledge, and value.

With women currently much more likely to be the primary caregiver to a child, this change also ties into our pledge to the Women in Finance Charter and our broader diversity targets. We have made a commitment to recruit, retain, and promote more women in our organisation, to help redress the gender imbalance across the finance and technology sectors. Fair policies for mothers make it so much more likely that women will join and, vitally, stay at Allica Bank.

And, without wanting to be too simplistic, we’re all human. Many of us are parents, uncles and aunties, and grandparents. We know what it means to raise a family and how it can be equal parts magical and exhausting. If we can give our colleagues – people we know, like, and respect – a better break to adapt to their new responsibility, it’s only right that we do so.

As you can see, then, there are a few different angles from which to look at this and they all come out positively:
  1. It benefits the parent(s)
  2. It benefits their colleagues
  3. It benefits the whole business

Support for parents beyond year one – flexible working

Generous leave is a great first step in creating a supportive, flexible environment for parents… but that covers the first six months. As it turns out, kids are a pretty long-term commitment! What are you supposed to do for the 17.5 years (minimum) that you remain responsible for your children? That’s where our flexible working policies come into play and continue to make life smoother, fairer, and easier for parents.

Hybrid working is our default and people find their own space and rhythm in that continuum. Time in the office builds relationships at work, but remote work lets you build them at home. Allica Bank is a fast-paced environment and it can be demanding, but it’s also full of respect for life outside of work. To be effective in either of those spaces, the two need to work in harmony. If they don’t, something’s gone wrong.

As a rule, we care about the quality of work you get done rather than the amount of time you spend doing it. If you need to take off an hour early to slip into ‘mum’ or ‘dad’ mode, that’s fine. If you need to jump back on your laptop after storytime, go for it.

Being there to collect your kids from school, sit down together for dinner, or cheer them on at sports day, those are the memories that stick with you — and with them! So many parents end up absent from their kids’ lives because of work; we refuse to contribute to that.

A workplace that supports parents supports everybody

We want Allica Bank to be parent-friendly at every stage of the long journey. Parental leave might stop after six months, but parenthood continues apace and we’re committed to supporting our colleagues through those years.

The bonus of our choices around parental leave is that they have a positive domino effect across the business.

The best talent in the industry joins and stays at Allica Bank, they feel genuinely supported and invested-in, and we all have the freedom to work in a way that feels right for us.

It’s not just a win for parents, but all of us and for the business as a whole.

Learn more about careers at Allica Bank.

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