Grant Thornton introduces new family friendly policies in move toward radical overhaul needed to reflect diverse employee family needs

Grant Thornton Ireland has announced a suite of new measures to support employees with paid time-off as they begin their journey to building/growing their family, reflecting the various life goals and the routes that many people take to achieve them.

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Grant Thornton Ireland has announced a suite of new measures to support employees with paid time-off as they begin their journey to building/growing their family, reflecting the various life goals and the routes that many people take to achieve them.

The move comes as Grant Thornton continues to progress a wide-reaching wellbeing and diversity programme. This includes ongoing engagements with employees which identified a desire to build on existing supports available and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to begin the journey to growing their family with the right supports, at a time that works for them.

The move strengthens the existing maternity, paternity, and adoptive leave policies already in place, while introducing compassionate, fertility and surrogacy leave policies.

Grant Thornton has removed the service requirement for fully-paid maternity leave , meaning all full and part-time employees will have access to this benefit from the moment they commence employment. This will also be reflected in both the firm’s adoptive and paternity leave policies.

In recognising that the road to growing a family comes in all shapes and sizes, those employees undergoing fertility treatment will now have access to five days of fully paid leave, supporting them during what can often be a stressful and emotional time.

The loss of pregnancy at any age or stage in life is devastating and therefore, Grant Thornton Ireland has expanded its compassionate leave for employees during this difficult time. Individuals and partners who are faced with the loss of pregnancy are now eligible for up to 20 days fully paid leave.

Speaking of the new policies, Partner and Chair of Grant Thornton Sinead Donovan said:

‘We are living in an era where the family journey looks very different for everyone and employers must recognise this, must support their employees, and must ensure that compassion reigns supreme at every step on this journey.

As a firm, we pride ourselves in nurturing and supporting talent, and in following through on this commitment, we want our teams to know that we have their back when they embark on their own exciting family journeys. I am particularly delighted to see that all employees will have access to fully paid maternity leave from day one, and that compassionate leave is available for those dealing with the loss of pregnancy.

We know from the recent Grant Thornton International Business Report that the number of women in senior management roles has fallen to 30% this year from 33% in 2021; and that 21% of Irish businesses have just one woman in a senior management role. I hope more firms re-evaluate their family supports to create greater opportunities for women to grow in these roles while supporting family commitments.’

While surrogacy leave is not yet legislated for in Ireland, the firm is taking a proactive approach by introducing a surrogacy leave policy which will mirror the benefits of the maternity leave policy.

Micheal Stone, Director and Head of Human Resources said:

‘Last year, we announced our plans to hire 1,000 employees over three years and with our enhanced employee and family friendly benefits, we are now strengthening Grant Thornton Ireland’s position as a leading employer in accounting, advisory and consulting. We have listened to our 2,000 people across the firm, who tell us that family leave options are important to them, and hope that these new family friendly policies will also encourage candidates to apply for the varied opportunities available within the firm.’

The family friendly policies are part of a continuous focus on the development of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy and practices. In addition to the updating of these policies the firm has also recently signed AsIAm’s pledge to provide an autism friendly workplace, reaffirming support of those who are autistic and neurodiverse.

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