The attitude and behaviour of everyone working for Thames Water can have an impact on our reputation. It’s important to us that all our employees can be themselves at work and are able to give their best. We make sure everyone is provided with the same opportunities and is treated with respect, irrespective of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, gender or sexual orientation.
We’re a Disability Confident Employer. During the year we actively focused on attracting people with disabilities to our company, promoting opportunities at disability job fairs and were invited as a keynote speaker at the Stronger Together Access to Work event. We support employees who become disabled during employment too, including offering flexibility and making reasonable adjustments to the workplace to ensure they can reach their full potential. During 2017/18 we upgraded our facilities such as installing hearing loops and improving accessible parking, lifts and toilets.
As well as focusing on attracting, supporting and retaining people with disabilities, we also raised awareness of physical disabilities via our own version of ‘Dining in the Dark’ at some of our key sites which generated money for Guide Dogs for the Blind as part of our celebration of International Day of Disabled Persons.
As a Stonewall Diversity Champion, we promote an inclusive culture where all LGBT+ employees are accepted without exception, and we’re continuing to be sponsors of Pride events across our region providing hydration stations, highlighting vacancies and engaging with our customers. We also submitted to the Workplace Equality Index for the first time and were incredibly proud of the results.
Flexible and smarter working.
We’re continuing to promote the benefits of flexible working. 93 per cent of women returned to their roles after maternity leave. We offer mentoring for those returning to work after an extended break, and have been granted a Bronze award by the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme for our support of the Armed Forces community.
Gender pay gap reporting.
We published our first gender pay gap report in December 2017 using a snapshot date of 5 April 2017. Since then we have been taking positive steps towards reducing our gender pay gap as part of our wider diversity and inclusion strategy. Our mean gender pay gap has reduced from 13.3% at 5 April 2017 to 10.8% at 5 April 2018, but we continue to have work to do to address our gender pay gap.
Gender pay looks at average earnings for women and men, regardless of their role – unlike equal pay, which is about men and women being paid the same for doing the same work. The reasons for a gender pay gap are complex but can often highlight the culture and opportunities for women to progress and reach higher positions within organisations.
Human rights and ethical behaviour.
We acknowledge the United Nation’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, so we have policies and procedures in place which ensure we’re compliant with these requirements, and that they’re enforced throughout our business. We seek to promote a culture of honesty and integrity in all our dealings, and we will not tolerate acts of fraud, dishonesty, bribery, corruption or theft of assets or data from the business.
Our Code of Conduct, together with our Honest and Ethical Behaviour policies, expresses our approach to business activities and how we work. These provide a clear, ethical and legal framework for our employees, customers and stakeholders, and clearly set out the minimum behaviours we expect. Our code covers a wide range of human rights issues, including discrimination, working conditions and equal opportunities. We have a confidential 24-hour Employee Assistance Helpline available and a robust whistleblowing process in place for any of our people to ask questions or raise concerns. Our contractors and alliance partners have also agreed to follow the provisions of this code.