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TSB celebrate first anniversary of equal parental leave

TSB celebrated the first anniversary of its equal parental leave policy which allows new parents to take up to a year’s leave with their child, with the first 20 weeks at full pay.

The policy came into effect in February 2022 following joint work between Accord, Unite and TSB in an effort to enhance support for new parents. The policy provides equal provisions for all staff, regardless of their route to becoming a new parent. And TSB is 1 of only 3 banks to have equal parental leave.

A year in review:

  • 290 colleagues have taken parental leave: 70% birth/adopted parents, 30% co-parent
  • Co-parents have taken on average 96% of paid leave: 9% of co-parents have taken more than 20 weeks leave, 12% have taken less than the full paid period
  • 61% of all parental leave taken by Customer Delivery: almost half of Customer Delivery’s parental leave occurred in branch and was 29% of total TSB’s parental leave
  • 3 in 4 new parents are B – D grades: majority of roles were covered through secondment or development opportunities or work shared across teams

“My wife had an emergency C-section so having the time off without having to worry about requesting unpaid leave or using extra holiday just to support was immeasurable. It also meant I was able to observe the mini milestones that happen so fast in the first few months of a baby’s life. I genuinely don’t think I’d have made the connection I have if I’d had to be back at work in a standard 2 weeks”

Accord member

Stopping sexual harassment

Sexual harassment has no place in any workplace. In 2023, many of us believe that should be obvious.

But we’ve got to face up to the reality that every week in workplaces across the country, people deal with inappropriate, discriminatory, and even violent behaviour. Though anyone can experience sexual harassment, it is overwhelmingly women who are affected. And the vast majority will never report what’s happened.

This must change. And as a union, we’ve got to play our part in breaking down the cultures that allow sexual harassment and violence against women to thrive.

At last year’s conference, delegates passed a motion on domestic violence, committing the union to developing further training and guidance for reps on domestic abuse, and to working with LBG and TSB to strengthen and promote their policies on the issue and build a supportive and understanding culture for survivors and those still living with abuse.

This conference recognises the efforts made by both Lloyds Banking Group and TSB throughout Covid to put issues of domestic abuse front and centre in their communications about wellbeing support. This conference calls for: Accord to develop further training, support, and guidance to be made available to members & reps on the topic of domestic abuse; To work with LBG/TSB to strengthen & promote domestic abuse policies (& develop where none exist); To work with LBG/TSB to promote a supportive and understanding culture of the challenges faced by those living with abuse & abuse survivors.

This is positive recognition that there are practical steps we can take to tackle violence and abuse, whether it happens at work or in the home. LBG and TSB have shown willingness to act on these issues and we’ll continue to identify and pursue opportunities for action.

Making sure everyone feels safe

However, it’s not just about the employers. We’ve also got to recognise that sexual harassment can and does happen within the trade union movement.

Though we’re not aware of any issues within Accord, that doesn’t mean we can be complacent. If we want to challenge sexual harassment whenever it occurs, then it’s up to us to lead by example and make sure our own house is in order.

Already, our union rules set out a commitment to promote equality for all and eliminate all forms of harassment. And we have a zero-tolerance policy for any type of bullying or harassment at our events, including aggressive, offensive, intimidatory, disrespectful or otherwise unacceptable behaviours or comments.

But for those commitments to work, we need members to feel they can report any inappropriate or uncomfortable behaviours, and trust that their complaint with be taken seriously and that they’ll be treated with sympathy and confidence.

And the responsibility shouldn’t just be on those who experience harassment either. Anyone who witnesses or hears of inappropriate behaviour should call it out and report it through the appropriate channels.

We’re open to hearing from members and reps about what more we can do to ensure that everyone feels safe in our union spaces. And anyone with specific concerns about behaviour within Accord or at our events can contact Chris Rimell at [email protected] or 07506 540325.

Further information

Michelle White, Senior TSB Rep
Michelle White, Senior TSB Rep

Leading the Way on Carer's Leave

Earlier this year, Michelle White, a senior Accord rep, met with Wendy Chamberlain MP to talk about carer’s leave.

Michelle is a senior rep at TSB in Sunderland and has been a carer all her life. So it meant a lot to her when, nearly three years ago, TSB worked with Accord to develop a carer’s policy that gives employees with caring responsibility up to 70 hours of paid leave.

“They are absolutely leading the way with this,” Michelle says. “It takes away any pressure, any stress of responsibilities outside work. And it means you're still getting time for yourself and respite. Where in the past, you would have to work your day off to give the time back or something like that.”

The policy operates on a carer’s passport that allows team members to outline their caring responsibilities to their managers and explain the impact it has on them and their work. They can then work together to develop support measures that suit the carer’s needs.

Carer’s Leave Bill

Since 2020, Michelle has become a “calendar girl” for the carer’s leave policy. That’s why she travelled to Westminster to speak to Wendy Chamberlain, the MP for North East Fife, about the challenges that carers face and the difference good employment policies can make.

Chamberlain is the sponsor of the Carer’s Leave Bill, which if passed will give all carers a week of statutory unpaid leave. The law has already passed through its first stage in the House of Commons and is currently on its way through the House of Lords.

Though it’s a long way behind TSB’s policy of two weeks paid leave, Michelle accepts that the bill is a step in the right direction.

“It’s important that carers get recognised because the service they offer is priceless, both to the people they care for and to the country. They’re unrecognised heroes - I call them the fourth emergency service.”

At TSB, Michelle is continuing to spread the word about the carer’s leave policy, making sure that colleagues who might benefit are aware of it, and that managers are equipped to support carers in their teams. She also emphasises the value of the policy when recruiting and retaining colleagues with caring responsibilities.

“I’m really proud of what the business has done,” she says. “And I’m proud to share my experience and support others.”

Comments in the media

It’s hard for people to understand what a carer means. You take a back seat yourself because you make sure that everybody else is alright. It can impact you mentally and physically as well. But this 70 hours takes a lot of that away.

It’s important that carers get recognised because the service they offer priceless, both to the people they care for and to the country. They’re unrecognised heroes - I call them the fourth emergency service.