Sam Hawkey

Five Reasons Why

Five Reasons Why...AMV is introducing a radical benefits scheme

The new scheme aims to help employees deal with life's challenges

By Creative Salon

AMV BBDO is launching a new company-wide benefit scheme, Life Changes, to help staff through the different life changes they go through during their time at the company.

The scheme is part of a new employee value proposition that looks at people through the lens of individual and personal challenges in their lives outside work.

Staff will be given a host of innovative benefits such as financial support towards egg freezing or fertility treatment, subsidy for transgender staff towards their transition costs, paid-for relationship break up and divorce counselling, paid “pawternity leave” to settle in new pets, and £500 a month per child for childcare for one year.

Five reasons underpinning the launch of the scheme:

  • Job titles and salary levels don’t always reflect the issues individuals are facing and the extra help they might need. As Sam Hawkey, AMV BBDO’s CEO, says: “We recognised our lives had fundamentally changed during the pandemic. There was a greater realisation that two people could be doing the same job but have quite different needs depending on how things were changing in their lives.” The new scheme means help can be given more flexibly.

  • The services and benefits of the scheme will better support people to deal with the opportunities and life choices that might impact their everyday lives, and hence affect their working lives.

  • The scheme will also help build, strengthen and enhance company culture and help attract, engage and retain talent.

  • The scheme enhances the company’s flexible working approach with measures that offer new working freedoms that reflect people’s need for time off to deal with personal issues and also desire for new life experiences

  • The economic crisis is exacerbating pressures on staff and the scheme includes financial support for employees where it’s most needed.

The scheme is divided into four key areas: Freedom, Nurture, Transform and Safety.

Under the “Freedom” set of benefits, agency staff can now work remotely for up to eight weeks a year, either because they are originally from overseas, or because they’d like a change of scenery. Staff who have worked for AMV BBDO for five years or more will be rewarded for their loyalty with five weeks paid leave a year, plus the opportunity to take a paid sabbatical for every five years of service. On a similar tip, all employees can take up to 18 months unpaid leave to pursue whatever dreams they have outside of work, whether that’s to travel, study or set up a business. It’s hoped the additional skills and experiences acquired will enhance AMV BBDO’s company culture and business.

More prosaically, people can also take up to two months paid leave for mental health issues or medical problems, with costs for most mental health management covered by BUPA. In severe cases, AMV BBDO will cover all costs.

In the raft of new measures under the “Nurture” category, anyone caring for pets, children, teenagers, the elderly, the disabled, the neurodiverse or those with chronic medical conditions will be given access to the likes of parenting coaching, wellbeing training, mental health practitioners, GP services and elder care advice.

People going on maternity leave, shared parental leave and adoption leave will all receive 100 per cent pay for up to six months. AMV BBDO is also offering primary caregivers returning from family leave £500 a month net payment per child for one year. And even pet owners are being given one week paid ‘pawternity’ leave, plus a further two weeks working remotely to settle in furry friends.

People going through relationship breakdowns and divorce will be provided with paid-for specialist counselling and guidance and those going through the perimenopause or menopause will get paid-for menopause advice from medically trained specialist. Meanwhile, those trying to conceive are being offered fertility counselling and time off for IVF treatment, miscarriage, adoption, and surrogacy. Staff are being offered a £2,000 subsidy towards fertility treatment such as IVF and egg freezing.

Transgender staff are also being offered counselling, training, and a £2,000 subsidy towards transitioning.

Under “Safety”, entry level staff are being offered a £5,000 interest free loan when they move to London to take up their new role, all staff are being offered responsible advances on their salary to cover emergencies or flexibility in when they get paid and in what frequency, and all staff can access free financial literacy workshops and advice, as well as free mortgage and equity advice and advice around the legal and financial elements of divorce and separation.

There’s also free advice on setting up a business, in AMV BBDO’s strongly held belief that setting up a side hustle encourages innovation and creative thinking, as well as improving and increasing business skills, which is all beneficial to its business and company culture.


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