In times of Austerity & Organisational Change—Belfast City Council Crowned Family Friendly Employer of the Year!

Belfast City Council impressed judges with their family friendly approach and strategy going forward despite facing financial pressures and organisational change.

Belfast City Council were crowned ‘Overall Family Friendly Employer 2017’ yesterday at the Family Friendly Employer Awards Ceremony 2017, organised by Employers For Childcare and sponsored by Worthingtons Solicitors.

The Council proved they have gone above and beyond to support employees through a period marked by significant challenge and change, including financial and structural, with the implementation of Local Government Reform.

The judges were also impressed with future plans to support staff including:

  • a Health and Wellbeing App for staff,
  • events focusing on Men’s Health and Women in the Workplace,
  • Age-Friendly Initiatives, and
  • a Gender Action Plan including lobbying on the childcare strategy and hosting a regional gender budgeting conference.

Marie Marin, CEO of Employers For Childcare, says “Employers are facing many challenges in our current times of austerity, with Brexit, the public sector pay cap and budgeting dominating the agenda. Belfast City Council has demonstrated that, in the face of such obstacles, organisations can innovate to support their employees in striking a work-life balance and enjoy significant benefits as a result.”

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister, said: “We’re thrilled to be awarded with Family Friendly Employer of 2017. We recognise that our staff are our most valuable asset, and by providing family friendly initiatives, this contributes to building the capacity of our organisation, through our people, to deliver a successful Belfast and make Belfast better for the future. On a personal level, I’m also very aware of the Council being a family friendly employer making it easier for me to juggle the demands of working life with looking after my young son Finn.”

Ms. Marin agrees, “Staff who are satisfied with their work-life balance are more loyal, motivated and productive. Being a family friendly employer makes commercial sense.”

She continues, “We are delighted to see a significant increase in applications this year, from small to large businesses, from the public sector and from charities and social enterprises. Through the application process, we have discovered many innovative ways that organisations, no matter how large or small, and facing a variety of challenges, can use to deliver a family friendly approach in their work places. We will be inviting those employers to share this learning at a workshop in the New Year.”

Family Friendly Employer Awards, now in its seventh year, is an annual event to recognise employers who provide and actively promote family friendly working policies. A complete list of winners can be found on the Family Friendly Employer section of Employers For Childcare’s website.