Children and family
Whether you are expecting your very first child or seeking child care for your third, our family friendly benefits will help you to manage all aspects of children and family life and thus maintain a healthy work-life balance.
We invite you to browse the benefits on offer, including enhanced leave entitlements, providing you with generous family leave packages which go beyond the statutory requirements (subject to eligibility).
In addition to the information available on this page, the Parents' Network webpages provide a good source of information related to being an Imperial parent.
Family friendly benefits
A new baby is one of the most exciting and sometimes most daunting times in your life. You may have a plethora of questions and a very long to-do list, we want to support you with all of this as you prepare for the arrival of the new addition to your family and as you adjust to your life as a parent.
Enhanced amounts of family friendly leave is available (subject to eligibility) to assist your work-life balance, along with our generous enhanced leave payments to ease any financial burden during this time. Please follow the relevent links below for further information:
You may also wish to view our Flexible Working policy.
Resting and nursing rooms
Designated resting and nursing rooms are available for use by pregnant women needing to rest and women returning from maternity leave needing to express milk or nurse their baby.
Baby changing facilities
There are a number of baby changing facilities located across the College campuses.
Elsie Widdowson fellowship Award
The Elsie Widdowson Fellowship Award is an important component of the College’s family-friendly policies and is open to eligible female and male staff. The purpose of the Award is to allow academic staff (Lecturer, Assistant Professor, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor, Reader, and Professor) to concentrate fully on their research work upon returning from maternity, adoption, surrogacy and/or shared parental leave. The Award enables the Department, Division, School or Institute to relieve the academic of teaching or administrative duties in order to concentrate fully on research. Read our case studies from staff who have benefitted from the award.
"My research productivity has hugely benefited from the fellowship and I am a big advocate of its benefits. Thank you very much for such an amazing scheme! "
Dr Elena Dalpiaz
Business School, Organisation & Management Group
Workshops and networking
The College recognises that the transition into the life changing event of parenthood can be both difficult and stressful for some and so offers three workshops:
Preparing For Maternity Leave
New and Expectant Dads at Work
Why not book yourself onto a workshop today?
Babies and Bumps - New parents and parents-to-be are invited to meet other Imperial colleagues in a similar situation for informal networking and mutual support over tea/coffee. HR will be present to answer any questions in relation to maternity, paternity and shared paraental leave. For further information of network meeting dates and details of who to contact, please view the relevant campus meeting dates.
Buddy Scheme - Available both before and after maternity leave, this scheme gives you the opportunity to be paired up with someone from Imperial who has recently gone through the same experience. Your buddy will act as a sounding board to answer any questions you may have and provide support. For more information on finding a buddy, please contact your HR contact.
Baby Einstein's breakfast club - Miss the rush hour and join us at our children’s breakfast club!
Childcare support scheme and childcare vouchers
We recognise that as a working parent you must meet large childcare costs for your children under five, for which there is limited state assistance. Consequently we offer support in the form of free childcare vouchers to eligible parents through the childcare support scheme, with the opportunity to purchase further vouchers through salary sacrifice.
When considering joining the above mentioned scheme, you should be aware that a new Government-run scheme is being launched called Tax-Free Childcare (TFC). TFC will be rolled out in such a way that allows the youngest children to enter the scheme first, and all eligible parents will have access to the scheme by the end of 2017. As part of the College’s commitment to supporting working parents, the current free childcare voucher and Computershare voucher schemes will remain open to new entrants and existing members until April 2018 to give you the option to either apply for Tax-Free Childcare or to apply for, or in the case of staff currently in the above mentioned schemes to continue to receive College free vouchers and Computershare vouchers. The College will continue to administer the free childcare voucher and Computershare sacrifice voucher schemes for existing members up to 2023. Further details can be found on the childcare support scheme webpage.
Early years education centre (EYEC)
EYEC provides outstanding childcare and education services to children of College staff and students, aged between 6 months and 5 years, in Prince's Gardens, South Kensington. They believe that the right balance of nurture and inspiration will enable all those within their care to get the best start possible. Find out more.
"I couldn’t have wished for a better nursery for my children at an early age. They support each child so that s/he can strive, grow and become a confident, happy and independent person. The teachers and all the support staff are very dedicated, and make it a very special place. Each day the activities offered are different, and so clever, original and colourful! What I like the most is that they do not hesitate to offer the children many “messy” activities that I don’t have the courage to offer at home after work, such as finger painting. My children love it and so do we." Laura de Preux, Business School.
Merchant Square Day Nursery
The College has secured a 20% discount on fees at the Merchant Square Day Nursery, which is close to the St Mary's campus in Paddington.
Emergency childcare and leave
back up childcare
My Family Care services are designed to meet the challenges that working parents and carers face and gives access to a wide range of back up services, advice and information. From specialist one-to one advice from experts, online resources, webinars to news updates, it is everything you need, all in one place.
"It was a great relief to be able to find childcare at very short notice, and to know the people involved were accredited professionals and so my children would be well cared for. This service fills a much needed niche for when all other avenues fail. The arrangements are easy and professional, and the two nannies we have used were exemplary. " Morgan Wascko, Department of Physics.
Emergency and back up leave
We understand that there may be times when, as a parent, an emergency occurs and you need to take a small amount of leave at short notice. To cover such occurances we have built provision into our Special Leave policy.
Family emergency - if a family emergency occurs invoving a dependant, you can take a reasonable period of time off work to deal with it. This leave is to allow you to deal with unexpected or sudden problems and to make longer term arrangements as necessary.
Parental leave - is available to enable you as a parent to take time off work to look after your child or to make arrangements for their welfare. You can use it to spend more time with your children and strike a better balance between your work and family commitments. Parental leave is unpaid and is available in addition to maternity and maternity support/paternity leave.
Eligibility criteria applies. Please refer to our Special Leave [pdf] policy for further details and to see the amount of leave available.
Domestic emergency - You can take a reasonable period of time off work to deal with a genuine domestic emergency. Examples of what may be considered a ‘domestic emergency’ are:
- Vehicle theft
- Vehicle accident
- Emergency repairs to home or services arising from or to avoid flooding or fire
- Other similar circumstances
For full details of how to apply for the leave types mentioned above and to view any relevant eligibilty criteria please refer to our Special Leave [pdf] policy.
School holidays and activities
Imperial activity and education camps
The College recognises the support that working parents and families need to cover childcare over the school holidays and with this in mind as part of the College's commitment to parent and family support, we have teamed up with Fit For Sport, the UK’s leading experts in engaging and educating children, young people and families through activity. Together we have developed a multi-activity camp including science and community activities that utilise the fantastic facilities at Imperial’s South Kensington campus, including the classrooms, Ethos sports centre and the outdoor secret garden. Find out more.
Days out in London
A family day out in London doesn’t have to break the bank. Why not take advantage of the tourist attractions right on our doorstep here in South Kensington and at the same time use your staff benefits? Take a look at our suggestions below for a fun packed day out in the capital!
Travel: If you are coming up to London at the weekend you can use the College's carpark at the South Kensington campus, free of charge. Remember to bring your staff ID card as you will need to show this at the Exhibition Road gate house.
Morning: There are three museums in South Kensington, the Science Museum and Natural History Museum are especially good for children and apart from some temporary exhibitions they are both entirely free. We have also negotiated discounts with the local museums as follows:
- Natural History Museum – half price entry into exhibitions, 10% discount in the cafe
- Victoria & Albert Museum – half price entry into exhibitions, plus 10% discount at the gift shop and cafe
- Science Museum - 10% discount at the gift shop and cafe
Lunch: You may choose to enjoy the cafe at one of the local museums or to take a stroll to Verdi at the Royal Albert Hall, where you can enjoy a 10% discount in their restaurant.
You will need to show your staff ID card to receive discounts at all of the above locations.
Afternoon: Why not use our Imperial Perks CinemaPerks channel to purchase cinema tickets at substantially reduced prices. You can choose from a wide range of cinemas, including Cineworld, Odeon, Vue, and more! Simply sign in or register to check out the latest savings.
End of day: One tired, happy family and it didn't break the bank!
For theme park discounts, take a look at the 'Family Friendly - Perks of the Job' tab.
Family friendly perks of the job
We have agreed a number of discounts with external companies, those listed below may be intersting to you and your family.
- Custard & Crumble - for luxury nursery furniture and decor, offering 10% discount on all products, enter PROM010 at checkout
- The public Apple Educational Site provides staff and students with discounts on Mac desktops and laptops, and lesser discounts on iPads
- The Park Club - for health, sports and relaxation, offering membership with no joining fee. Contact Marcus Phillips, membership team. 020 743 6263
Imperial Perks - family days out
CinemaPerks is the dedicated cinema tickets channel for Imperial Perks, giving you access to substantially reduced cinema ticket prices. They are also a great way to easily redeem your WOWPoints. Choose from a wide range of cinemas, including Cineworld, Odeon, Vue, and more!
"I use Imperial Perks every time I go to the cinema! The codes are so easy to use and it’s made going to the cinema a much easier (and cheaper) experience. The codes also last for over a year so would make a great gift!" Amy Morton, Human Resources
Thanks to Merlin Entertainments, you can now enjoy unique, memorable and rewarding visitor experiences at any of the attractions available on Imperial Perks. What’s more, as a member of Imperial College staff, you get access to exclusive pricing too. In addition to the major theme parks, Imperial Perks have also launched London attractions.
" I ordered tickets to Thorpe Park via Imperial Perks and got 50% off the price. It was extremely easy and quick to use, and I received the tickets almost instantly by email. 10/10!" Emma Woodcock, Department of Chemistry.