Staff at the Nottingham Evening Post are reaping the benefits of Advantage – a portfolio of special deals and new rights covering childcare and family life, education, health and travel to work.
Managing Director of the Nottingham Post Group, Steve Anderson-Dixon, explained that the benefits came out of a questionnaire issued to staff in Autumn 1999 which asked them about a whole range of employment-related issues.
One of the sections dealt with the kind of additional benefits employees would like to see the company provide.
He said: “The aim is to provide the best possible package, which offers a variety of benefits and competes with some of the country’s top organisations, with a special focus on family-friendly support.”
He added: “Whilst we have been conscious to take heed of the welfare of our staff, we have also tried to be sensitive to the impact that an employer can have on the families of employees.”
Employees with two years’ continuous service are now entitled to free private healthcare. Their families can also be enrolled at a discounted rate. There is also a special rate for workers who want to join before they have completed two years’ service.
New fathers can now have an extra two weeks’ paid leave during the first three months after the birth of their baby. There is no length of service qualification for this benefit.
New mums, once they return to work with the company, can get childcare vouchers to the value of £20 per week until their baby is one-year-old. Women have to have completed two years’ service to benefit.
Employees who want to undertake training which is relevant to their career path can receive up to half the cost of a course leading to a recognised qualification, plus limited time off to attend lectures, prepare coursework etc. and paid time off to take exams.
If they want to take a course which has no relevance to their job – but helps to develop knowledge and skills in an area of particular personal interest – the company will pay up to 25% off the cost of a recognised, regulated course.
Commuting staff also now get up to 20% off annual rail season tickets – and other discounts on three-month and six-month deals. There are also subsidised passes available for the buses and the park and ride schemes. The company has also offered to pay the costs upfront and deduct the blanace from employees monthly pay packets.
Employees receive free legal insurance to provide advice and help in any employment disputes, personal injury claims, consumer problems or neighbour disputes.
Other benefits, which will be added to over time, include 75% off the joining feee to a local gym, and two for one admission to some local attractions.
Mr Anderson-Dixon said that Advantage was one of many initiatives designed to re-enforce the company’s People Charter.
“The Charter identifies the key factors that define the culture of the Nottingham Post Group. It is a commitment to ensure that ‘our working environment, our working relationships and our working practices are based on respect, honesty and dignity’,” he said.
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