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Returning to work

Published: 13 Jun 2016 11:00

Support to help women back into workplace.

A project to help bring experienced women back into the workplace after a career break is to be trialled in Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The Scottish Government will work with employers across the country to pilot a 'Returners' project which will help women update skills and knowledge.

The project will smooth the transition back into the workplace for both women and employers.

The First Minister made the announcement as she opened Deloitte's new Glasgow office where she met women who have benefited from the firm's Working Parents Transitions Programme to help them back into work. She said:

"Many women struggle to get back into work due to a lack of access to flexible working that allows them support care commitments. They can lose confidence and relevant skills after being out of the workforce especially in the science and technology sectors where technology has moved on at a rapid pace.

"Every woman must get the best support to return to work and that is why we will pilot a Returners project, working with employers to get the right processes and training in place to help women back into work.

"Deloitte recognises the importance of supporting women and its transition programme in helping parents make career choices and a successful return to the workplace.

"Greater equality of opportunity is a priority for my Government and that applies to everyone. When we tap into the diverse talents and the rich experiences of everyone, we'll have a stronger economy and country."

Deloitte also today signed the Scottish Business Pledge, making a commitment to nine good business practices including the Living Wage, workforce diversity and family friendly workplace policies.

The First Minister added:

"I am pleased that such a large business, with more than 530 employees in Scotland, has made this commitment, setting a good example to other firms of its kind around the country. Their Pledge sits alongside more than 260 ambitious and innovative companies and is good for business and good for Scotland."
Elaine Boyle, a Corporate Tax Director at Deloitte based in Edinburgh, is one of the beneficiaries of the firm's Working Parents Transitions Programme (WPTP). The WPTP is available to any primary carer working at Deloitte and is designed to help new parents make a smooth transition back into the workplace following maternity or paternity leave.

Elaine added:

"Deloitte's WPTP is a great example of the importance the firm places on integrating its staff back into the workplace after maternity or paternity leave. On returning to work, I was particularly encouraged by the sessions provided to line managers to ensure they understood how best to support those returning from maternity leave.

"The programme demonstrates the commitment Deloitte has to ensuring the transition back to work is as smooth as possible, and the active role all of the business leaders throughout the firm have in achieving this objective. It has also given me a local network of other women returning from maternity leave and has created a setting in which I can be candid about challenges faced, take comfort that others are working through this too, and share ideas and strategies on how to successfully make the transition."

To further enhance its offering to new parents, Deloitte is also extending its Return to Work Programme in England – which was launched as a pilot in September 2015 and is the first of its kind among professional services firms. The 2016 scheme will last for 20 weeks and aims to help women in senior positions, who have been out of work for more than two years, transition back into the workplace. Deloitte has this year been nominated for two categories at the annual Top Employers for Working Families Special Awards: the 'Best for All Stages of Motherhood' and 'Innovation' categories.

Notes to editors

About Deloitte in Glasgow

Deloitte's new Glasgow office, occupying 18,280 sq. ft. at 110 Queen Street, employs 240 staff servicing clients across a variety of industries, including the public sector, financial services, food and drink, technology and energy.

About Deloitte's Working Parents Transitions Programme (WPTP)

On notification of pending maternity, the mother (or primary carer) and their line manager join Deloitte's Working Parents Transitions Programme (WPTP), with the aim of ensuring a smooth transition to and from maternity leave. Delivered by external coaches, pre-maternity/parental leave sessions build peer support networks, share experiences and explain the support the firm offers. Line managers attend separate sessions to understand challenges that can be encountered by those returning from maternity/parental leave and best practice support that can be provided pre, during and post-leave. Through informal working arrangements (WorkAgility) or formal paid leave, Deloitte's policies ensure all parents are able to balance their time to manage work and any antenatal or adoption appointments.

About the Scottish Business Pledge

Scottish Business Pledge has nine components: paying the living wage; not using exploitative zero hours contracts; supporting progressive workforce engagement; investing in youth; making progress on diversity and gender balance; pursuing international business opportunities; playing an active role in the community; commitment to prompt payment; committing to an innovative programme.

Read more about the Pledge here: www.scottishbusinesspledge.scot/