Broadstone Group enjoy working with organisations of all sizes and across numerous sectors. While all of our clients fulfil their legal obligations around health and safety, employment and wellbeing, we do have some clients who like to be ahead of the curve. These are the leaders rather than followers and if you consider yourself in that category, here are a few examples of trail-blazing employee benefits from around Europe.
To be transparent, the duvet day is not really new and was first introduced to the UK in the 1990s, however, although some companies have adopted them as an official policy, they are still the exception rather than the norm. A duvet day is a day that a business agrees employees can take off without advance notice and supporters argue it prevents staff from calling in sick when they just fancy a day off. If you do decide to offer duvet days, first set out the number which are provided, usually no more than two a year, and you will also have to outline any specific days/times of the year when duvet days are not available. This is then written into your staff contracts and policy documents.
Menstruation, menopause, and miscarriage
Modibodi has launched a new policy offering its employees up to ten days additional days paid leave a year for menstruation, menopause and miscarriage symptoms. Granted this brand is a sustainable period pants company and the founder says this is part of the company’s commitment to ‘talk openly and honestly about periods, to normalise conversations about menstruation and to remove any stigma and shame associated with a normal, natural part of life.’
Can such a progressive policy be introduced everywhere? Well according to the Spanish government, it can. Spain is due to become the first country in Western Europe to offer guaranteed time off for those experiencing painful periods. (Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and Zambia already grant menstrual leave). Spanish women who suffer from severe period pain will be allowed to take up to three days menstrual leave from work each month.
If you have a predominantly female workforce, why not look at policies that offer help for the three Ms? If providing additional leave is a step too far, maybe you can consider other forms of support such as developing policies as part of your equality and diversity offering which looks at raising awareness of these issues and encouraging open discussion. You can make adjustments around flexible working or provide showers or free sanitary products to support your women team members.
The 4-day week
The changes in our working life forced on businesses by COVID-19 has proved to supporters of the 4-day week that flexible working is no longer a pipe dream. Iceland has largely adopted the practice and researchers say there is an improvement in life-work balance, although a similar experiment in Sweden had mixed results. Here in the UK, a six-month pilot involving 60 companies and 3,000 employees commenced in April and so it will be interesting to see the results, but in the meantime, has your business adopted shorter working hours or flexible working?
Broadstone employee benefit consultants continually see how the right benefit package for your staff demographic can work wonders for staff morale and productivity. While some of the benefits discussed here may seem quite radical, you can speak to our team about developing a package that works for you now. Let’s not forget that getting it right is an important retainment and recruitment tool and in the current competitive environment, incentives that make a real difference will ensure the best staff are working for you and not your competitors.