Making Middle Child a family-friendly workplace

By 7 June 2022Blog

A work-in-progress list of the things we do at Middle Child to support people with caring responsibilities

6-12 June 2022 is Carers Week and this year’s theme is “making caring visible, valued and supported”.

Over the past few years we’ve been working hard to make Middle Child a family-friendly employer, whether a full-time member of staff or a freelancer working on a one-off project.

It’s important to us that the people we work with can maintain their creative practice and fulfil caring responsibilities, which is why we become a charter partner of PiPA (Parents and Carers in Performing Arts) in 2019.

PiPA campaign to enable and empower parents, carers and employers to achieve sustainable change in attitudes and practices. You can find out more about the amazing work they do on their website.

With PiPA’s support, alongside input from the people we work with, including our Imagine the Future day in 2021, we’ve introduced a lot of family-friendly practices into our workplace – and continue to make improvements all the time.

We haven’t shouted about them much in the past, so with Carers Week 2022 upon us we thought we’d let you know what it means to work with Middle Child as somebody with caring responsibilities.

A small boy stands next to his mum, who is operating a camera on a tripod
A small boy sits by a camera mounted on a tripod

Luca joins his mum, Katie (Fly Girl Films) to film Rapunz’ull

Adjustments for people with caring responsibilities

We ask everyone we work with if they have any caring responsibilities so that we can support and make adjustments as necessary; whether that’s schedule, working times or within our budgets.

Flexible hours and four-day weeks

We have a flexible working policy that is available to everyone we work with, so we can be responsive to people’s preferences and needs. Our core team work compressed hours in order to work a four day week, in order to bring better work-life balance and help with caring responsibilities, and have now introduced this to our rehearsal schedule.

Wellbeing allowance

We allocate a percentage of our annual budget to a wellbeing allowance so that we can offer additional support to freelancers with caring responsibilities, who need it, in their work.

Interviews and auditions

We always offer alternative arrangements to face-to-face interviews and auditions where necessary and are open to dependents also attending an interview or audition.

Breastfeeding-friendly

We are a breastfeeding-friendly organisation for the staff, freelancers and audiences who use our spaces, including our new creative hub, Bond 31. This includes providing breastfeeding parents with breaks when required.

A small boy holds a sign that says

Finn inspects the set for There Should Be Unicorns

Bring children to work

We accommodate children in the workplace where appropriate. Six-year-old Finn already has a rounded knowledge of technical rehearsals.

Timely sharing of schedules

Production schedules are shared at least three weeks in advance with all freelancers and staff members so they can organise their work around any caring responsibilities.

Travel and accommodation

We make a reasonable effort to adapt any travel and accommodation plans to the additional needs of pregnant people and parents of babies, such as when a show goes on tour.

Flexible working and job shares

We include the option for flexible working and job shares across job and artist development opportunities. This ensures we are open and accessible to carers and parents from the widest possible talent pool, reducing possible exclusions.

PiPA case study

Middle Child are working with PiPA to create a case study to assess our processes and policies for maternity leave within our executive team. This case study will be used to pass on learning and develop best practice within the industry. 

Enhanced parental leave

We offer an enhanced parental leave package to members of staff.

Free parenting coaching

PiPA have offered us a free parenting coaching session to core staff and freelancers for parents working in the arts.

Advocacy

We keep up-to-date with changes in the sector and use our platform to encourage other organisations to underpin their work with the same principles. Like this blog!

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This list isn’t exhaustive and we constantly review our practice. This includes plans to run a survey about caring responsibilities, for both freelancers and audiences, later this year, so keep an eye out for that.

In the meantime though we’d love to hear from you if you have any suggestions on other things that we can do to support people with caring responsibilities in the arts.

Feel free to contact our PiPA champion, Paul Smith, with any ideas or feedback on our work.

EN PL