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Calor boosts support for new parents with enhanced parental leave packages and phased return to work

Five pairs of baby socks hanging on a washing line in a garden
UK energy provider Calor, has announced some very positive changes to its maternity, paternity and adoption policies, with a forward-thinking employee wellbeing and family-friendly improvement package that will not only offer enhanced financial support for new parents, but also a more flexible approach to returning to work.

As part of the company’s overarching ‘People Strategy’, Calor undertook research of a significant number of employees to better understand the experiences of its colleagues, as well as the wider company culture. The results were used to form a bespoke Family Friendly policy that suits the needs of parents across the workforce.  

This new Calor policy means that, Calor colleagues will receive full salary pay for 26 weeks (6.5 months) while on maternity or adoption leave. This is a significant upgrade from the Government’s Statutory Payment (SMP), which companies offer by law, where employees are paid 90% of their average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks and £151.97 (or 90% of weekly earnings – whichever is lower) for the following 33 weeks. In addition, Calor has enhanced its paternity leave policy, offering new fathers two weeks’ leave at full salary in place of the previous payment of 90% of average weekly earnings. The changes will also be backdated for staff whose maternity or paternity leave started after 1st January 2021. 

Perhaps the most impactful shift within the policies is Calor’s new approach to support colleagues on their return to work. Eligible colleagues can opt to take advantage of a phased return over six weeks, where they can work 60% of their contractual hours while still receiving their full salary. The policy aims to ease the transition between new parenthood and the workplace, offering breathing space that will allow parents to settle their children into new childcare routines, as well as giving them more time to adjust to life back at work.

Nia Fortune, HR Director at Calor Gas, explains: “Our responsibility was to listen and the feedback made it clear that in order to maintain our supportive culture, a more flexible approach was required. Ultimately, the support a company offers in terms of policies like maternity, paternity and adoption leave can not only impact a colleague’s overall performance and job satisfaction, but importantly it also has an impact on their families. 

“These changes to our family friendly policies are a great example of us understanding the experiences of our colleagues and learning from them to make a positive change.  The individual needs of each colleague are unique and placing flexibility at the heart of what we do will not only help us to attract the very best talent, but also support our colleagues in their lives outside of work. Having 3 young children of my own, I can appreciate how difficult it is returning to work following childbirth and the support of your employer makes such a significant difference to your overall wellbeing at such a critical time in your life. I’m incredibly proud that at Calor we have been able to make such a positive step forward to support our colleagues”

For those who will be returning to work later this year, the policies will make a huge impact. As a Calor colleague and new mum Kelly Bailey explains: “These changes will make such a big difference to my family as I finish my maternity leave. The transition period will allow me to ensure my son is properly settled at childcare as I restart work, providing some much-needed reassurance after what has been a challenging year. Knowing that I have the support of Calor at this time in my life, makes achieving a genuine work like balance seem possible and the prospect of returning to work much less overwhelming.”

The policy changes mean that Calor is now offering family-friendly packages that are on par with some of the biggest organisations in the country. An annual list published by work-life balance charity, Working Families, lists the likes of American Express, Lloyds Banking Group, Public Health England and Experian as offering similar policies.
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