Halcom d.d. – holder of family-friendly enterprise certificate (certifikat družini prijazno podjetje)
The company Halcom D.D. has a long-standing commitment to reconciliation policies. Information is disseminated to employees through various channels, opinion surveys are carried out and quarterly meetings are held. The company has a crèche and kindergarten close to the premises. The company also provides care for elementary school children during holidays and a child-related time bonus is given for parents for leave for the first school day. Employees can take up to 30 days (instead of 10 days) unpaid leave each year. In some circumstances employees can work from home. The company has a person who coordinates reconciliation activities as part of a team that implements the ‘family friendly enterprise’ certificate and related activities. Auditing takes place through the Audit Council and there is a strong company commitment to implementing the provision under the ‘family friendly enterprise’ certification. Overall the focus is on reconciliation measures for families, rather than women or men.
Promoting equality through EQUAL
Slovenia launched a family friendly enterprise certification scheme – Certifikat Družini prijazno podjetje – in 2007, in partnership with the non-profit Eqvilib Institute. More than 130 companies, employing some 50,000 workers (7% of the workforce) have now been certified. The scheme is based on the European family audit system developed by Berufundfamilie in Germany, and also used in Austria, Italy and Hungary.
Halcom D.D, a firm that provides electronic payments systems, took part in the Young Mother/Family-Friendly Employment project, a development partnership funded through the EU’s EQUAL Community Initiative Programme. Through this experience, it introduced a set of measures to increase its family-friendliness, which were designed with the help of an external consultant in human resource management nominated by the Ekvilib Institute, which is the certifying institution for the certification scheme. Halcom was subsequently awarded the “Family-Friendly Enterprise” basic certificate in May 2009, and gained the full certificate in November 2012.
Petra Hartman of the Ekvilib Institute says: “Halcom stands out mostly thanks to its wide range of benefits offered to its employees, its organisation culture, including the care for employees, and the management's commitments, which are more than just a dead letter."
Measures to create a high-quality working life
Since its establishment in 1992, the company’s strategy has been to create conditions for a satisfying work/family balance for its employees. This has been realised through relevant measures, with a stress on internal communication. Selected measures implemented at company level include:
- Some flexibility in office hours;
- Taking account of school holidays and the partner’s annual leave when planning employees’ annual leave;
- Reconciliation measures are communicated and disseminated through the company’s intranet, company review, notice board and a leaflet;
- Opinion surveys among employees to gather information on their satisfaction, suggestions for improvements and changes, and wishes regarding reconciling work and family obligations;
- Quarterly meetings of all employees where reconciliation of work and family life is a permanent item on the agenda;
- Reference person for the issue of work-family reconciliation;
- Company’s own crèche and kindergarten close to the company’s premises since 2010;
- Care of elementary school children during school holidays while parents are at work;
- Child-related time bonus, providing an additional paid day of leave on the first school day for parents with children in the first three classes of elementary school (age 6-8), and an additional paid day of leave for parents with children in the 9th class of elementary school (on the information day organised by the upper secondary schools);
- The option to take 30 (instead of 10) working days of unpaid leave a year;
- The possibility to work from home if exceptional circumstances require care of family members;
- Christmas gifts for children of between ages 0 and 10;
- A family picnic is held once a year for all employees (including Halcom Serbia and Halcom Bosnia and Herzegovina);
- Halcom gives a certain amount of money for each newborn child.
All employees are engaged and included. A person is assigned to coordinate reconciliation activities. This person is a member of a team consisting of seven employees that is in charge of implementing the Family-Friendly Enterprise certificate and coordinating activities. The group meets regularly.
The objectives of the measures implemented include a good quality of life for employees, easier reconciliation of work and family responsibilities, flexibility, and satisfied employees.
The focus of reconciliation measures is on families rather than on female or male employees. However, the reconciliation measures implemented in the company undoubtedly reduce the difference between female and male employees and contribute to their more equal position, satisfaction and work/family balance.
Among the success factors of the project are the support ut receives from management, a high level of motivation, a good and detailed implementation methodology, the participation of all employees, and regularly seeking and evaluating feedback from employees.