The AOP has announced a unique Parental Leave membership grade for members on maternity, paternity or adoption leave.
The new grade is designed to support members at a time in their life when its needed most – helping them overcome the challenges often faced during parental leave and supporting them in their return to work.
Available from 1 January 2017, the new Parental Leave grade allows members to benefit from up to 12 months membership for free.
Taking the pressure off
Speaking about the new grade, chief executive of the AOP, Henrietta Alderman, said: "The AOP is delighted to launch this new grade, which aims to help members as they go through an important personal change in their lives. It is in tune with our ethos to make sure members are fully supported at every stage of their career. Many people can find parental leave an expensive time, with more pressures on finances coupled with a drop in salary, and we want to take the pressure off through our payment freeze."
Ms Alderman added: "Allowing members on parental leave to access our benefits such as education and training can help make the return to work a less daunting prospect. It is vital that the mechanisms are in place to help members return confidently and ensure that talent in the sector is retained."
Those opting for the grade will have access to the range of AOP member benefits including: Insurance cover for their previous period of membership and up to 10 keeping in touch days whilst on parental leave; access to AOP’s in-house legal, clinical and regulatory expertise including the employment law team; and CET in print, online and at free or discounted events across the country to keep knowledge up to date when on leave.
While available to all members who have been a member of the AOP for a minimum 12-month period, the new package responds to the needs of AOP’s female demographic – as an increasing number of women choose optometry as a career. Members starting a family will benefit from easy access to learning opportunities and up-to-date industry knowledge, professional advice as well as that important touch-point to the profession for the duration of their leave.
The AOP is introducing a number of new initiatives for members in 2017. More information is available online on the AOP website.
From 1 January 2017, AOP members who are currently on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or who are due to go on leave, should contact the AOP membership team on 020 7549 2010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.