5 ways to become a Family Friendly Employer!

Striking the Balance

New findings by CIPD show that on average only 5% of dads and 8% of new mums have taken Shared Parental Leave since it was introduced in April 2015. The survey of over 1,000 HR professionals also found that the lack of affordable childcare for 0-2 year olds could be having a negative impact on mothers returning to work after maternity leave.

CIPD are calling on both Government and Employers to better support working parents through innovative policies and strategies.

In 2015 Employers For Childcare conducted our own survey with parents – Striking the Balance – about the impact becoming a parent has on working life, employment and career. Of our 4,000 respondents over a third stated the lack of affordable childcare as an obstacle faced by working parents. In addition almost 30% commented on the lack of flexible jobs.

Interestingly parents with supportive employers were more likely to be satisfied with their work-life balance than those with unsupportive employers. We join CIPD in calling for employers to better support working parents. In our survey we asked parents which key actions employers could adopt to help balance work with life, we developed their suggestions into the ‘How to be a Family Friendly Employer Guide’. Here is a summary of the five key actions:

  1. Practice increased flexibility

This could be through the provision of policies, such as flexitime or compressed hours. However, a flexible approach could simply include facilitating parents when they need to take time off to deal with emergencies. Some parents suggested allowing parents to work at home when their children are ill, or allowing the build-up of TOIL to facilitate other commitments.

  1. Ensure equality of opportunity

Numerous parents commented that once they were on a part-time contract they were no longer eligible to apply for senior roles, or conversely managers or senior officials felt that they could no longer request flexibility. A number of respondents suggested solutions to this such as home-working or job-share.

  1. Provide better information

Many respondents asked that their employers provided better, up-front information on the policies which are available to them, both statutory entitlements and company policy. A number of means in which this could be communicated were suggested, for example using the staff intranet, company newsletters, during inductions and staff workshops.

  1. Offer Childcare Support

The cost of childcare can cause a significant financial burden for families, and finding affordable and suitable childcare can also be a challenge. Many parents suggested that their employer could help with childcare through providing the Childcare Voucher scheme, which helps parents save up to £1,800 per year on their childcare bill.

Other parents suggested that employers make available onsite childcare for their employees. This is convenient for parents, and can also help save money on the cost though the Workplace Nurseries Scheme.

  1. Be more understanding

Aside from all other asks, many parents simply called for their employers to be more understanding of working parents and their needs. A number of respondents commented that they wished for their employer to be more approachable and open to supporting parents and discussing flexibility.

Download a copy of the Employers For Childcare ‘How to be a Family Friendly Employer Guide’ .

For more ideas on how to become a Family Friendly Employer, come along to our annual workshop, a networking breakfast where HR professionals from all industries come together to share best practice advice and listen to examples of family friendly workplace policies implemented by the Family Friendly Employer Award winners.

The next Family Friendly Employer Workshop will be held at Galgorm Resort and Spa on Thursday 2 March 2017.

Call 028 9267 8200 or email hello@employersforchildcare.org for further information.