Irish bank introduces raft of new ‘Family Matters’ policies

Bank of Ireland has introduced a raft of new ‘Family Matters’ policies and supports for 9,000 staff.

As part of its ambition to be one of the best places to work in Ireland and Northern Ireland, Bank of Ireland Group plc has announced a range of both new and enhanced family friendly policies and supports.

Launched to 9,000 colleagues across the Group today (15 February 2023) – and applicable to all colleagues based in Ireland, UK, EU and US, in line with local legislation – the bank’s Family Matters initiative will create a more supportive and inclusive environment for colleagues at different life stages.

“There is no one-size-fits-all for families, so our people policies aim to support a range of scenarios, including when colleagues face very challenging circumstances”

The new benefits include:

  • Seven weeks top up of parents leave for parents in the first two years (Republic of Ireland)
  • Seven weeks top up of shared parental leave in first year (UK)
  • Now 13 weeks’ paid leave for partners, when coupled with paternity leave enhancements adopted in 2022.
  • New provision for foster care leave.
  • Ten days’ leave for colleagues undergoing fertility treatments.
  • Surrogacy leave has now been formalised to match adoptive leave entitlements.
  • Early pregnancy leave for the loss of a baby under 24 weeks’ gestation, available to all colleagues.
  • Extended breastfeeding breaks for parents with a child up to two-years of age. 

Family first

Bank of Ireland has also made all family leave policies “day-one” entitlements for colleagues, meaning they can avail of benefits from the first day of employment.

“As one of the largest employers in Ireland, we want to build a progressive workplace and contribute to a progressive society,” said Bank of Ireland CEO Myles O’Grady. “This is also important for our business which competes hard to attract and retain the talent we need to serve our customers, support growing businesses, and also grow as a company.”

“We constantly challenge ourselves to foster a work environment where colleagues are treated with fairness and flexibility. There is no one-size-fits-all for families, so our people policies aim to support a range of scenarios, including when colleagues face very challenging circumstances.

“Family Matters is the culmination of a number of significant policy improvements we have implemented to ensure a supportive and inclusive culture for all colleagues. A key part of this is supporting colleagues throughout their careers and the milestones in their lives, like becoming a parent or a carer.  Our new and enhanced policies will have a positive impact on both the personal and financial wellbeing of our 9,000 colleagues and their families”.

In developing Family Matters, Bank of Ireland reviewed all existing HR policies to identify new benefits which would best support colleagues.  Family Matters benefits will complement existing initiatives introduced last year, including Menopause Leave, improved Paternity Leave and the Domestic Abuse Policy. Benefits are Groupwide with the exception of policies specific to the jurisdiction based on legislative differences. 

The Bank has launched an informative Family Matters Handbook illustrating all key supports and benefits available, whatever the colleagues’ journey.

The new policies come on the heels of various forward-thinking HR policies rolled out by the bank in recent months. These include the introduction of domestic abuse leave, the expansion of paternity leave from two to six weeks and diversity training for all staff.

Bank of Ireland’s new Family Matters Policy was developed following a review of existing policies.

New policies:

  • Early Pregnancy Loss
  • Breastfeeding Support
  • Foster Care Leave
  • Medical Leave
  • Shared Parental Leave (UK)
  • Parental Bereavement Leave (UK)

Existing policies:

  • Maternity Leave
  • Adoption Leave
  • Surrogacy Leave
  • Paternity Leave
  • Parental Leave
  • Parents Leave
  • Carer’s Leave
  • Fertility Leave
  • Force Majeure Leave

Main image at top: Bank of Ireland employee Chris Keeley and his daughter Ava with Bank of Ireland CEO Myles O’Grady

John Kennedy
Award-winning editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.