Following the merger of Sun Alliance and Royal in 1996 and the acquisition of AMEV in 1997 the company had rapidly grown to become a major player in Ireland. This rapid growth brought about major changes and challenges to the organisation. Although we already had a wide range of Family Friendly policies, others such as Job Sharing have been developed and expanded in conjunction with our Trade Union, MSF. Initiatives like Job Sharing were introduced at the time to encourage a strong commitment to further growth and a continued investment in our staff, providing Family Friendly Policies to allow for a flexible working environment.
-Family Friendly Policies
Job Sharing has been widely available for the past 4 years throughout all departments. The scheme has been modified to make flexitime available to job-sharers because of a preference to start early and avoid the peak morning traffic. Job-sharers work 35 hours over two weeks - Wednesday, Thursday, Friday of one week and Monday, Tuesday of the following.
It is R&SA policy to encourage a culture of continuous learning and knowledge sharing and to assist staff in developing the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours for their current and future careers. R&SA offers financial support and paid study leave to all staff studying for approved exams. R&SA pay for staff who wish to study the ECDL. The course pack (on CD-ROM) is also available to other family members who just have to pay to sit the exam.
Staff are entitled to take up to twelve months Maternity leave (including statutory leave) with full pay for 14 weeks, social welfare for 4 weeks and the balance unpaid. R&SA continue to pay pension contributions on behalf of the employee. A bonus payment of EUR 700 is also made on return to work.
Both parents are entitled to take parental leave and an employee may request to take parental leave in a number of ways: (a) a continuous period of 14 weeks, or (b) with agreement of their manager, one or more days at a time or a combination of hours. R&SA try to be flexible on this and where possible do not insist on the 14 weeks being taken together. Breaking up the 14 weeks Parental Leave by taking one or two days each week, can be financially manageable, whereas few people can afford to take 14 consecutive weeks unpaid leave. While an employee is on parental leave, he/she will have all employment rights protected and this leave is also pensionable.
Under the terms of the Adoptive Leave Act 1995 similar entitlements will apply as under the Maternity Protection Act 1994. R&SA pay full salary for 10 weeks. Similar to Maternity Leave staff can take up to 12 months leave.
The Carer's Leave Act 2000 will enable employees to take care of someone who needs fulltime care and attention for up to a maximum of 65 weeks, once the validity of the application has been approved of by the Department for Social, Community and Family Affairs. We encourage any staff taking such leave to work the permitted 10 hours per week with R&SA.
The Company will cover the cost of health care examinations every 2nd year. This service will consist of breast examination and cervical smear testing for female staff and blood pressure check and examination of testes for male staff.
Approximating to VHI Plan E at Plan B costs. This scheme is also open to an employee's spouse/partner and children.
This project was set up on a pilot basis in 1999/2000. We have a number of people working from home and R&SA provide all the necessary equipment such as PC and desk and the work is sent to their homes by courier. They then invoice us at the end of every month.
Our aim is to become the Employer of Choice and we are currently working on a project where we are reviewing our benefits and remuneration structure. There will be more information to follow, on completion of this project.