Move Designed To Ensure Parents Can Get To Christmas Plays
Supermarket retailer Asda is to offer its staff so-called ‘nativity leave’ in order to ensure that their workers are able to watch their children in annual Christmas plays.
The company has confirmed that it has introduced a flexible working policy to allow parents unpaid leave in order to attend such events.
It came after research carried out by the retailer which polled more than 5,000 working mothers found that one in three of those surveyed were concerned that their job responsibilities mean they would miss out on important events in the lives of their children.
Hayley Tatum, executive people director for Asda, said: “There’s no doubt working mums have a lot on their plate at this time of year and we don’t want our colleagues to miss out on the things that are really important to them this Christmas.
“Technology might help to take the pressure off busy working parents on a daily basis, but we know that it’s just not the same watching your child’s milestone moments back on a smartphone or tablet.”
The approach taken by Asda is an interesting one, offering a fair degree of flexibility to staff at no real cost to the company.
"At this time of year, it is particularly vital for retailers such as Asda to maintain staffing levels. However, offering this kind of flexible approach means they will substantially reduce any temptation that staff may have to consider ‘sickies’ for everything from nativity plays to post-Christmas party hangovers.
"In addition, for working parents, encouraging ‘nativity leave’ is likely to generate staff loyalty which will long outlast the festive season.
"There are key issues for employers to bear in mind, however. For example, they should consider adopting similar policies of flexibility to all staff, not just parents, as well as ensuring that every request is treated fairly. In addition, records of such leave should be kept and updated when necessary.
"Taking such steps should prove very useful in case any complications emerge in the long run."
Samantha Clark - Senior Associate Solicitor