Allstate NI offers its employees a range of flexible working arrangements that can be used to support them to balance their caring commitments whilst working.
Part-time hours, staggered hours, condensed working patterns and remote working options allow an employee to tailor their working week around the commitments that come with being a carer.
Allstate Northern Ireland is a subsidiary of the Allstate Corporation. Allstate is one of the largest property and liability insurance companies in the US and a Forbes 100 company. Established in 1998, Allstate NI provides a range of innovative, critical business support services to its parent company including technology, data, cybersecurity and finance. Recently awarded Gold Accreditation from Diversity Mark, Allstate is the first company in U.K. and ROI to achieve this recognition.
How can employers support employees with caring responsibilities to meet the demands placed upon them both at home and in the workplace?
What Allstate NI did
According to Carers UK, there are 220,000 unpaid carers in Northern Ireland and with a reported 19% of people in paid employment with caring responsibilities, Allstate NI recognise the unique needs this group of employees require.
Lesley Miller, Senior Manager, (pictured above) said, “My issue was time. When my grandchildren arrived, I wanted to ensure that I would have regular time with them that would also be useful to my son and daughter-in-law. I wanted to be able to provide them with one day’s childcare every week. At the same time, I also wanted to have time to help with elder care within my family. That’s a lot to juggle when you work full-time.”
Allstate NI offers its employees a range of flexible working arrangements that can be used to support them to balance their caring commitments whilst working. Part-time hours, staggered hours, condensed working patterns and remote working options allow an employee to tailor their working week around the commitments that come with being a carer.
Lesley continued, “I was open with Allstate NI leadership with what I hoped for, and they were very receptive. We worked together to map out a pathway for me to make this career shift. I was able to identify a role that used my skills and I worked with my Director to structure the work in a reduced and condensed hours format. I now work three 8.5 hour days per week giving me time to help with elder care and to have one day a week with our grandchildren.”
The Allstate Carers Network Employee Impact group, AllCare, was established in 2017 and exists to support colleagues when they need it most.
The Committee is a group of ANI employees with a shared goal of raising awareness of the challenges carers face, offering signposting to support within the comapny as well as outside it. Importantly it also provided a space for carers to come together, connect and share advice.
“As a working mum, with a child with additional needs, it was important to me that my employer and colleagues had an awareness of carers within the employee group, and that I found connections with other colleagues with similar responsibilities.”
Working Mum, Allstate NI
The mission of the AllCare committee is to foster an environment of support for employees with current or future caring responsibilities, assisting them in their personal and workplace needs.
Through an employee wide survey, it was confirmed that there was a significant % of employees with caring responsibilities who welcomed support in the workplace.
“AllCare has been a lifeline for me, it has allowed me to bring my full self to work, feel supported, make a difference, and make new friends!”
Louise Boyd, Senior Manager
Augmenting the support that AllCare provides, other staff networks can also help. Disability Support Group and Ausome provides similar support to employees who are themselves, or have family members who are, living with disabilities or neurodivergent disorders. The company also has Mental Health First Aiders in place.
These groups have led panel sessions with employees with caring responsibilities sharing their experiences, created an intranet site created for employees and managers with supporting documentation, links and policies, hosted events and expos with other Employee Impact groups.
One policy change, championed by AllCare saw Personal Leave (leave offered to employees in addition to annual leave) expand to include appointments and activities to support their dependents.
Employee health and wellbeing is of vital importance and as part of the suite of benefits an employee assistance programme offers support from a range of legal, finance and health professionals.