Goldman Sachs is offering London staff emergency nannies to look after unwell children and elderly care in the bank’s latest incentive aimed at reducing its gender pay gap.

An extension to the US investment bank’s backup care programme was announced to employees last week, and includes nanny care at home for “mildly ill” children and the same for dependent adult family members with mobility issues or who need help unexpectedly.

Goldman has been trying to accommodate bankers working long hours and address its gender pay gap, caused by the most senior ranks being dominated by men.

The Wall Street lender, which employs about 6,000 people in the UK, also recently introduced free gender reassignment surgery and IVF fertility treatments. The latter has been seen as an attempt to retain female staff as criticism mounts over a lack of equality in the banking sector’s senior ranks.

Goldman has also launched a programme to ship mothers’ breast milk home to their children if they have to work overseas.

“The firm recognises that backup care is an essential benefit when your usual care arrangements break down,” Goldman said in an announcement outlining the emergency nanny service to staff.

The investment bank’s workers will have access to 20 days of in-home care per child or dependent each year. Staff will have to pay only £4 per hour to use the care service. The bank also offers free on-site childcare.

The company is signed up to the UK women in finance charter, which aims to raise the proportion of women in senior roles to at least 30% by 2023.

In a preamble to recently released UK gender pay gap figures, Goldman said lower pay for women at the company reflected “our current reality that there are more men than women in senior positions in our organisation”.

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The mean pay gap across Goldman Sachs International was 55.5%, based on hourly pay over the 12 months to April 2017, while the median pay gap was 36.4%.

Sally Boyle, the bank’s international head of human capital management, said the policy was a result of continuing conversations with staff.

“Providing care to children, elderly parents or other dependants is a significant part of many employees’ lives. It’s important we recognise the challenges that can come from balancing these commitments with work and do everything we can to support our employees and their families when the need arises,” she said.

This article was written by Kalyeena Makortoff Banking correspondent, for on Thursday 22nd November 2018 14.36 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010