Flat-pack furniture specialist Ikea UK & Ireland has been recognised for its rewards and benefits package, winning an award at the annual Personnel Today Awards at the Hilton, Park Lane, London.
Given the accolade for its family friendly maternity, paternity and adoption leave package, the retailer was chosen by a group of nearly 900 HR professionals from some of the UK’s top employers to identify and reward HR teams making the biggest impact with their people policies.
The Reward & Benefits Award recognised that the retailer offers a gradual return to work for new parents, enabling employees to work 50 per cent of their contractual hours for the first 12 weeks and receive full pay during this period. Moving back into work following an absence is also eased by an Employee Assistance Programme, which provides advice on issues including locating childminders or nurseries, medical advice and information on all aspects of child healthcare.
Financially, Ikea offers an additional 12 weeks half pay during maternity leave, in addition to the initial 6 weeks full pay at the start, as well as offering an interest free loan to cover the first month’s childcare costs.
Cathy Donnelly, IKEA UK & Ireland’s HR Operations Manager, said that the company is delighted with the award and that such external recognition confirms the importance of the package.
“This year more than ever, our focus is on securing IKEA as a great place to work for all of our employees and one element of this is providing a competitive benefits package,” she commented.
“We will now continue our discussions with our employees to understand how we best meet them at other life stages and use the findings to shape our future actions and strategy.”
Earlier this month, the retailer reported that like-for-like sales in the 12 months to August 31st 2011 were down three per cent year-on-year which UK Country Manager Martin Hansson blamed on “a stagnant housing market.”
However, Hansson remained confident that improvements would help to boost the retailer’s position.
“Looking ahead, we are confident that our commitment to price, quality and improving our services will enable us to strengthen our market position over the coming year,” he said.