Saatchi & Saatchi has set up an initiative to support and change the culture for working parents in the ad industry.
Saatchi Family will focus on working parents, particularly mothers, in its first phase and eventually expand to provide support and resources for all caregivers.
As part of the initiative, Saatchi & Saatchi will invest £350,000 to create a childcare fund to help relieve employees’ childcare pressures, particularly during school holidays and in gaps when arrangements might be changing.
Saatchi Family also includes:
- fully paid leave for parents experiencing miscarriage at any stage of pregnancy, as well as support for partners and close family members
- a “buddy system” led by employees who are comfortable discussing experiences such as IVF, miscarriage, adoption, surrogacy and single parenthood
- optional phased return for working parents
- one week’s fully paid emergency leave for unexpected scenarios, particularly for single parents and carers
- 12 months of career coaching and mentoring; continued flexibility for drop off and pick-up times
- an annual survey tracking progress and potential issues facing parents.
The launch comes as research shows that women, particularly working mothers, are being hard hit by the pandemic. A recent study from the Office of National Statistics found that the responsibility of childcare and home-schooling during lockdown had predominantly fallen on women.
And a survey of nearly 20,000 mothers and pregnant women carried out by campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed found that 15% had been made redundant (or expected to be) in what founder Joeli Brearley has referred to as “a generational rollback”.
This is not the first time that Saatchi & Saatchi has launched an initiative aimed at welcoming a wider diversity of talent. Last year, coinciding with the agency’s 50th anniversary, it started three programmes tackling the creative education of schoolchildren (Saatchi Ignite), recruitment and retention of entry-level talent (Saatchi Open), and affordable housing in London (Saatchi Home).
Saatchi & Saatchi chief executive Sam Hawkey, who led the creation of Saatchi Family, said: “Saatchi & Saatchi is an agency built on the belief that ‘nothing is impossible’ but for a lot of parents navigating the challenges of the past year has been borderline impossible.
The first thing we needed to do was listen to our people. Then we looked at what we should be doing immediately, what proper systemic impact we could deliver with the right time and money, and then we looked at delivering the impossible.
“We believe the Saatchi brand matters, and that we have a responsibility to do the right things. We are doing that with Saatchi Ignite, Open and Home, and we are now doing the same with Saatchi Family. We want to build a company that people feel proud to work for, and work with.”
This week, Channel 4 also introduced a pregnancy loss policy to support employees experiencing miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion.