Select Committee on Social Security Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

APPENDIX 24 (Continued)

A Summary of Benefits At Penguin Books Ltd



  At Penguin Books, we strive to promote a working environment which is sensitive and caring. We believe that major changes in your life require appropriate recognition from your employer. In particular, we know that employees often face new and challenging demands on their time and financial resources.

  Our success as an organisation is dependent on the skills and commitment of the people who work with us. In consequence we ensure that our benefits reflect, where possible, the needs and concerns of employees.

  That is why Penguin operates enlightened family friendly policies, such as generous parental leave for mothers and fathers of newly-born and adopted children, a childcare scheme for parents with young children, summer play-scheme for school age children and compassionate leave to support you through other unplanned and unexpected domestic difficulties.


Maternity Care

  Our maternity care provision is comprehensive. Maternity pay and leave far exceeds the basic entitlement under employment legislation. If you've completed one year's continuous service with Penguin, you are entitled to 52 weeks' leave, commencing up to three months before your baby is due.

  You may take paid time off to attend antenatal and postnatal clinics.

  You will be paid during your maternity leave for a total of 25 weeks at full pay, though if you prefer, the last five weeks of paid leave can be taken as ten weeks at half pay instead. The remainder of your leave is unpaid.

  If you have not completed one year's service, then you are entitled to the statutory provision on maternity leave and pay.

  During your leave, you will continue to accrue other employment benefits, such as annual holiday, long service entitlements etc. You may elect to keep up your pension contributions and membership of the private medical insurance scheme during your unpaid maternity leave by making payment arrangements.

  If you wish to work part-time when you resume work after your maternity leave, you may apply to do so. Whilst we cannot guarantee every application will be successful, we will explore all possibilities to endeavour to accommodate your request. Consideration will include job share arrangements, recruitment of another part time person or putting you forward for other part-time vacancies that may be available.

Paternity Leave

  We recognise the father's responsibility towards the newly born child and his partner. You may take up to ten days' paid leave to support your family during your child's first year.


  All of the parental leave benefits are available if you are adopting a pre-school age child.


Childcare Scheme

  The childcare scheme is designed to help employees cope with the responsibilities of pre-school age children. The benefit, which is available to all employees whose partners also work, takes the form of a supplementary payment to your basic salary.

  If you have a child or children under five years of age, and employed in a permanent job with Penguin, you may apply to join the scheme. If you are eligible, the benefit will be paid until the child or children start primary school.

  The payment is made for a maximum of two children at any one time—one payment will be made for the first child under school age, with a second child qualifying for half of that payment.

  Your eligibility to join the scheme is dependent upon your basic salary and your partner also being in employment (either with Penguin or with another employer). Part-time employees are entitled to a pro rata payment.

  Applications to the scheme are sought annually, and payments are made through payroll. At the current time, childcare payments are subject to tax and NI deductions.

  There are no constraints on which method of childcare you elect to use. You may, for example, choose to use a local cre"che or nursery, a registered childminder, a family member providing a child minding service or a nanny. It's your individual choice to suit your specific circumstances.

Summer Play-scheme

  For parents of school-age children, their care during school holidays can be an added complication to balancing work and home life. To help ease the difficulties, Penguin runs a summer play-scheme for three weeks during August each year.

  The scheme is registered with the London Borough of Hillingdon and is based at one of the primary schools local to the Harmondsworth site. The play-scheme leaders are qualified teachers who organise coach trips, local outings, swimming, and sports and leisure activities at the school.

  The play-scheme takes up to 24 children between the ages of 5 to 11 years, and is open from 9 am to 5 pm each day; a minimal charge is made to employees who use the play-scheme to help pay for coach hire, public transport fares etc.

  Applications for children to attend are made in June each year.


  You may find it difficult to work standard hours due to family commitments. If you do wish to change your working arrangements, we will try to accommodate your request subject to the operational needs of your department or team. In discussion with your manager and HR, you may be able to change your start or finish time, work part-time, arrange a job share partnership.


  Paid and unpaid leave may be available to help you deal with family difficulties, such as the care of a sick child, partner, close relative or anyone else to whom you have a responsibility. Or you may be experiencing some other exceptional or unexpected difficulty, such as bereavement, divorce, breakdown of childcare arrangements, the rehabilitation or care of an elderly relative.


  Our parent company, Pearson plc, has set up an independent Scholarship Committee whose objective is to give financial support to students undertaking a full time first degree course or its equivalent at a recognised higher education establishment either within the UK or overseas. The scheme is open to students whose parents are employed on a permanent basis by a Pearson Group company within the UK. Applications for grants are sought on an annual basis, usually during September.


  As you approach company retirement age, you may wish to gradually reduce your working time to enable you to adjust to the day when you will no longer be working. Our pre-retirement scheme enables you to reduce your working week—six months before retirement, you may work a four day week, then three months before retirement, you may work a three day week. There is no loss of pay or other benefits during this period.


  This is a general summary of the family friendly policies we are currently offering within Penguin. Full details of the various schemes, eligibility, notice requirements, payments etc are all available from your manager or your local HR contact.

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Prepared 2 November 1999