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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Southeastern becomes first rail operator to offer leave to kinship carers

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During National Carer’s Week, Southeastern is proud to become the first rail operator to formally support colleagues who become kinship carers. 

Kinship care is when a child lives full-time or most of the time with a relative or close family friend, usually because their parents are not able to care for them. 

It’s estimated there are more than 180,000 children being raised in kinship care in England.  

The need for kinship care can happen unexpectedly, with many kinship carers stepping up in a time of crisis. 

With a workforce of around 4,500 people serving thousands of customers across Kent, East Sussex and London, Southeastern colleagues who become a kinship carer will now be entitled to Kinship Care Leave.

This will give them the time and flexibility needed to adjust to their new circumstances. 

Mel Marnell, a kinship carer who works at Greenwich station, said: 

“Our guidance is the gold standard of kinship friendly employers. It offers people the financial security of knowing they can take some time off to bond and adjust with the new young person in their life and know that their job is still there. But more importantly it acknowledges the kinship carer and the sacrifices they are making. We are seen, which is priceless. 

“I’d like my colleagues to know that if they find themselves in my position, it’s frightening at times but you’re not alone. It may seem like it, but there are lots of us and we are always here to help.” 

Steve Foster, Southeastern’s People Director, said: 

“Southeastern is committed to the wellbeing of our employees, customers and the communities we serve. 

“A colleague who became a kinship carer spotted the gap in our existing support and we realised there was more we could be doing to support those going through this. 

“It is not a legal requirement for us to provide this support, but it’s the right thing to do for our people and we are proud to be the first UK rail operator to offer this.” 

This is one of several initiatives to support colleagues across Southeastern and we’re recruiting now. Fancy joining us? Find out more here

Image credit: Southeastern

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