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Employee benefits

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council is a great place to work. We work hard and are proud to serve the people of the Borough. You can be the best you can be, and you will be supported with your own development.

We have a range of employee benefits.

Pay and reward

Pay

The grade of your job is set through a formal job evaluation scheme. Annual cost of living pay awards are subject to national negotiations with trade unions or pay review bodies, depending on your terms and conditions. You are paid in 12 equal instalments into the bank account of your choice on the last working day of each month.

Allowances

Some jobs within the Council get allowances such as unsociability, standby or sleep ins. You will be informed by your managed if an allowance is applicable to your job. All the allowances are detailed in the Single Status Agreement.

Sick pay

We operate the nationally agreed sick pay scheme which entitles you to a period of full pay and half pay depending on how long you have worked here. The maximum sick pay is 6 months full pay and 6 months half pay for employees with more than 5 years continuous service.

Pensions

We operate two occupational pension schemes, the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) and the Teacher's Pension Scheme. You will be automatically entered into the appropriate scheme if you are eligible. If you do not wish to be in the pension scheme you will need to opt out.

The LGPS is an employer contributory career average scheme, operated by the Teesside Pension Fund. The LGPS Pensions and Retirement Policy explains some of the benefits available to you and provides an overview of how the scheme works, the financial protection that it offers you and your family, and the options available for your retirement. For more information visit the Local Government Pension Scheme website or the Teesside Pension Fund website.

The Teachers' pension is a career average scheme. You must meet the eligibility criteria to join this scheme. For information please visit the Teachers Pension website.

Additional voluntary contributions

Employees who are members of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) are able to purchase Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) to supplement their pension on retirement thought a shared cost scheme. Employees who purchase AVCs receive tax and National Insurance relief on the payment.

 

Work-life balance and attendance

Annual leave entitlement

Our annual leave entitlement is:

  • 27 days plus Bank Holidays for employees with less than 5 years Local Government Service
  • 32 days plus Bank Holidays for employees with over 5 years Local Government Service
  • 33 days for employees on Chief Officer terms and conditions

Annual leave entitlement for part-time employees will be calculated pro-rata.

Additional annual leave purchase

You can purchase between 3 and 10 days additional leave per year through a deduction in pay spread over a 12-month period.

Leave of absence

We have a work life balance and attendance policy which gives guidance around paid and unpaid leave of absence, which should be agreed between you and your manager. We recognise that you might need more support if there is a bereavement in your family, if you or one of your dependants is critically ill or has another emergency situation, or if you have to undergo a medical procedure and need some time to recover.

Flexitime scheme

Flexitime lets you have a degree of flexibility over your working hours by allowing to vary your start and finish times. You can take up to 3 breaks a day to help balance personal commitments with work and you can accrue time where work is available so you can take hours back at a later date.

Flexitime is available to employees subject to the needs of the service. Not all services are able to offer flexitime due to operational requirements such as shift working arrangements.

Remote working

For our employees whose job role enables them to, they can work remotely providing greater flexibility as to where and when work is undertaken, whilst ensuring that service demands are being met as efficiently and effectively as possible.

 

Family friendly benefits

Flexible working

You can make a flexible working request to help you to balance your working life with other priorities such as parental and other caring responsibilities, life-long learning, charity work, leisure activities and other interests. These are subject to ensuring staffing levels and the demands of the business are met.

Becoming a parent

We are committed to helping working parents balance work and family life. Our Becoming a Parent Policy covers the leave entitlement and enhanced payments available for:

  • maternity leave
  • adoption leave
  • shared parental leave
  • paternity leave
  • maternity or adoption support leave
  • fostering and special guardianship leave
  • IVF treatment

Tax-free childcare

Tax-free childcare can give eligible families an extra 20% towards childcare costs.

Working parents with children under 12 (or under 17 for disabled children) could be eligible for the scheme. For every £8 you pay towards your childcare costs, the government will add an extra £2. You could receive up to £2,000 per child per year (£4,000 per disabled child).

The Tax-Free Childcare scheme can help to pay for:

  • registered childminders, nurseries and nannies
  • registered after-school clubs and play schemes
  • registered schools
  • home careworkers working for a registered home care agency

For further information and to register visit the Childcare Choices website.  

 

Health and wellbeing

All our employees have free access to our confidential employee health and wellbeing services.

Occupational Health Service

Our Occupational Health Service is provided by our Occupational Health Advisor, with support from an Occupational Health Physician. The service understands the pressures and priorities of the Council, its services and its employees. It proactively addresses health issues within our workforce, helps to support attendance at work and to build capacity and resilience.

Employee health and wellbeing - Teesside Mind

Teesside Mind provides free access to confidential advice and support from their team of qualified, experienced practitioners. You can access one-to-one help at a time and place that suits you to help improve your mental wellbeing. They work at a pace that suits you, offering face-to-face or telephone support to achieve your goals, providing help with personal and work-related issues including (but not limited to):

  • depression
  • bereavement
  • anxiety
  • stress
  • confidence
  • isolation

Employee Assistance Programme

Employees can access a huge range of health & wellbeing information and advice through the Your Care Wellbeing platform we offer via Vivup.

This includes a 24 hours, 7 days a week, all year round confidential telephone helpline with qualified counsellors to discuss in confidence any emotional, personal or work-related issues. This could be unlimited 'in the moment' support where an employee can ring (without an appointment) if they are going through a difficult time and need someone to talk to. There is also the option for structured appointments at a time and date convenient to the employee if more ongoing support is needed.

There are also a wide range of online resources that employees can access including self-help CBT workbooks, audio books, podcasts and blogs on a range of topics.

Physiotherapy services - Body2Fit

Body2Fit provide our physiotherapy services. As an employee, you can have free early access to the following services:

  • up to 5 physiotherapy sessions
  • a workplace assessment
  • an initial podiatry assessment

Tees Active

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council employees receive a 50% discount on the joining fee for gym membership in Tees Active centres across the Borough:

  • Billingham Forum
  • Splash
  • Thornaby Pavilion
  • Thornaby Pool
  • IB Leisure

Contact your local Tees Active Centre for further information or visit the Tees Active website.

 

Personal development

Learning and development

We are committed to supporting the learning and development of our employees to ensure that we all have the skills, knowledge and behaviours to respond positively to change and deliver efficient customer focused services to the people of our Borough. Our learning and development programme provides:

  • new starter induction
  • training for all employees advertised through MyDevelopment, the Council's learning management system
  • specific training for managers
  • apprenticeship opportunities for new and existing staff

Investors in People Award

In 2021 we were awarded Investors In People Accredited Standard.

Investors in People sets out the criteria for high performance through people. It is the UK's leading accreditation for people management and signals a high performing culture and a commitment to employee development and success.

We have held the award since 2000 and apply for re-accreditation every 3 years. We recognise that what we deliver as a Council cannot be achieved without the hard work, passion and dedication we have from our employees.

 

Employee engagement

Employee networks

We currently have 6 Employee networks:

  • race equality network
  • LGBTQ+ network
  • young network
  • carers network
  • health and wellbeing network (disability and inclusion champions, domestic abuse support champions, wellbeing champions, peer support groups: menopause, bereavement, neurodiversity)
  • sports, leisure and social network

Our networks are led by employees and provide an opportunity for networking, peer support and personal development. They also consult with the Council on a range of matters and arrange annual events to support Council objectives, raise awareness and celebrate diversity.

Intranet

The intranet provides you with everything you need in one place. It's the first screen you see when you turn on a PC at the Council. You'll find all our policies, procedures, forms and guidance there, plus more information on Employee Support and Benefits and a daily news banner.

Keeping You in Touch (KYiT)

Our Keeping You In Touch (KYiT) weekly newsletter is published every Friday on the intranet and includes lots of information about work life, as well as community and local news. A number of paper copies are also produced and are available in Council buildings for employees who do not have regular access to the intranet.

Trade unions

The Council works in partnership with trade unions and meets regularly with representatives to discuss issues affecting the Council and its workforce. Trade unions can provide a range of support to their members from representation on individual workplace or personal issues, to consumer benefits such as reduced rates on mortgages and insurance.

 

Other employee benefits

Car lease scheme

We operate a salary sacrifice car lease scheme with NHS Fleet Solutions to enable you to lease a new, fully-maintained and insured car and benefit from lower costs and tax benefits at the same time. As this is a salary sacrifice scheme, it does impact your pension.

The scheme complies with our Environmental Sustainability and Carbon Reduction Strategy and eligible employees can choose from a range of electric, hybrid and ultra-low emission cars.

The scheme is available to all Council employees, excluding school based employees, and is subject to eligibility checks and insurance restrictions.

Lifestyle Savings & Discounts

Employees can access a huge range of savings and discounts across the UK's major retailers via the Vivup Benefits Platform. From saving on everyday essentials to enjoying money off at the movies, employees can browse frequently updated deals across retail, food shopping, travel, family essentials, dining out, leisure activities and many more.

Bus and train discounts

Employees can take advantage of discount offers on annual tickets from Arriva, Go North East, Stagecoach and Northern Rail paying for annual tickets directly from their salary and spreading the cost over a 12-month period.

Cycle to work

We operate a Cycle to Work scheme through our employee benefits provider Vivup.

Employees choose a bike and any accessories, hire them for an agreed length of time (12 or 18 months) and exchange a set amount of salary each month during the hire period.

Reductions are made to gross salary, so employees can make savings on Income Tax and National Insurance contributions, where applicable.

Tees Credit Union - Payroll Saving and Affordable Loans

Tees Credit Union (part of Moneywise) is a financial co-operative which offers safe savings, affordable loans and related services including financial and budgeting awareness and support.

Employees can have money paid direct from their salary into an account to build up savings or repay a loan.

TradePoint Discount Card

Employees are able to request a discount card from TradePoint, which entitles them to a 10% discount off almost every product at TradePoint and in-store at B&Q.