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  • Writer's picturePreeti Bonthron

How to be a workplace that is inclusive towards parenthood

Most people look back to their childhood with nostalgia.

Of course there were challenges to growing up. After all, what thirteen year old does not consider at least one of their parents to be a part-time tyrant sent especially to torment them?

As adults, we carry our own childhoods into adulthood. The good, the bad, the ugly. Some want to grow up to be exactly the kind of parents that they were lucky to have. Others want to be the kind of parent that they never had.

Parenthood while also managing a career is not easy. One of the huge challenges is the balancing act between home and work.

There are highs and lows.

Being able to provide for your family is a high. Missing key moments is a low.

Inclusion for working parents means that parenthood is not held against them. That there is room for them to be a great parent while also being an excellent employee.

How do workplaces achieve this?

  1. Consider the cost of living when making pay-rise decision Research by Pregnant then Screwed and Mumsnet shows some damning numbers in the UK. In a survey of over 27K people, - 62% of say that the cost of childcare is now the same or more than their rent/mortgage payment with an increase of 73% to families of single parents or parents where both work full time. - 43% of mums said that the cost of childcare has made them consider leaving their job - 40% said they have had to work fewer hours than they would like because of childcare costs - One in four (25%) parents say that they have had to cut down on necessary expenses such as food, heating or clothing to afford childcare

  2. Make flexible working an option from Day One. The UK recently announced a new law that gives every employee the right to request flexible working from the first day. This will give employees the option of job-sharing, flexitime, and working compressed, annualised, or staggered hours to help them balance their work and home life, especially supporting those who have commitments or responsibilities such as caring for children or vulnerable people.

  3. Consider the effect of workplace policies on families Meetings and events outside of work hours can sometimes have an adverse affect on employees with caring responsibilities. Additionally, consider if the holiday/compassionate leave offered covers things like illness, carer's leave and other such circumstances.

  4. Don't discriminate against returners Sometimes people return to work after a career break. For a long time, career breaks were thought of as a bad thing. That an employee might be out of touch with the job or the industry and might not be able to "hit the ground running". If needed, provide on-the-job training for returners to get back up to speed.

Finally, as an employer or a manager keep your door open so that your employees and colleagues feel comfortable bringing up concerns and issues to you.

Empathy and kindness go a long way during difficult times.

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