Islabikes introduce radical new parental leave policy

Islabikes were the pioneers of quality kids bikes, designing and manufacturing high specification bikes for children well over a decade ago. People said it wouldn’t catch on, but as any regular Cycle Sprog reader will know, there are now so many makes and models of lightweight kids bikes on the market that they were proved right.

Now Islabikes are turning their attention to another important matter – workplace diversity and inclusiveness.

It’s safe to say that the cycling industry doesn’t have a reputation for inclusivity. Indeed, in a recent BikeBiz poll only 39% of respondents (from within the cycling industry) said they thought it was an inclusive and welcoming working environment and even less (30%) thought women received a fair representation in the industry.

Islabikes are raising the standards, with radical changes to their maternity and paternity policy, which gives their employees equality for leave and pay entitlement for all parents regardless of gender and sexual orientation.

The new Islabikes Parental Leave policy not only benefits employees but also aims to assist partners of employees to get back to work after giving birth. The scheme, which is thought to be a first in the cycling industry, introduces a raft of policy changes in the company that consists of the following:

  • Up to 52 weeks leave for women and men
  • 100% pay for first 6 weeks post-natal for women and men
  • 33 weeks at 50% of national living wage for women and men
  • Additional leave if your baby is born 4 weeks early or more
  • Return to work bonus of up to 1-months salary
  • Up to 8-week phased return to work and re-induction
  • Flexible working options in the first 6-months of your return
  • Review of flexible working options at the end of the 6-months to determine a long-term working plan

The company’s Operations Manager Suzanne Boak said:

In 2015 the government introduced shared parental leave. Less than 1% of new fathers take advantage of it. It simply isn’t working. Whilst researching the policy online, we were shocked to find only 1 company offering similar benefits.

With the government’s plans not working, it’s up to industry to take up the gauntlet. The more employers that offer truly equal parental leave, the more pressure will be placed on others to follow suit.

We think it’s really important to maximise employees enjoyment of this time without having a long-term effect on their working ambitions. With expanded options for all parents, we hope that it will not only encourage more dads to spend time with their new-born but will also encourage more women back into work after having their baby and should make the transition much easier.”

Let’s hope that other companies, both within and outwith the cycling industry, take note!

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