The RAF is proud to announce that we’ve won two Working Families Best Practice Awards: Best for Mothers and joint winners for Best Innovation.
Best for Mothers
We have an 82% retention rate for mothers, a year after returning from maternity leave. The RAF’s maternity leave offer includes 26 weeks at full pay; 13 weeks of Statutory Maternity Pay and 13 weeks unpaid. Shared Parental Leave matches this offer.
Expectant mothers and their line managers receive guidance throughout the maternity leave and return to work period. Mothers are entitled to paid time off for IVF, antenatal and pre-adoption appointments.
Other measures that help mothers include access to physical training instructors who specialise in pre and post-natal fitness on a one-to-one or group basis. The RAF funds the instructors’ training and has obtained the right insurance, so mothers can bring their young children with them while they exercise in RAF gyms.
Mothers can apply for flexible working patterns. Mothers and primary adopters are not deployed for at least 18 months after their baby is born or adopted.
The Working Families judges were particularly impressed by how the RAF actively seeks feedback from parents and acts on it.
Our Employment Policy Dashboard uses HR data to analyse how effective our inclusivity policies are.
Policy makers can identify relationships between policies and HR data to see which ones are working. For example, the RAF’s commended maternity leave has seen female personnel serving longer and staying longer after maternity leave.
The system has helped identify areas for improvement, such as a need for more support around childcare in order to retain staff. In this case, the data showed that high childcare costs particularly in the South could force some personnel to leave, so the RAF engaged the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) to set up RAFA Kidz – a not-for-profit nursery business offering quality childcare at a much more affordable price.
The Working Families judges were impressed with how the RAF can provide hard evidence on the need for policy changes, and demonstrate the impact they make, rather than relying on a sense of altruism and ‘doing the right thing’.
The Working Families Best Practice Awards are awarded by Working Families, the UK’s work-life balance charity, to recognise employers who are leading the way in flexible and family-friendly workplaces.
This great achievement is aligned with the RAF’s new Astra ways of working. We strive to improve the lived experience of RAF personnel and their families to build our next generation air force: a diverse, inclusive and empowered work force that reflects the society it serves.