flexible work parental support

Six ways to be a family-friendly employer….

….by offering flexible work, parental support and new childcare options

In response to the Covid19 Pandemic, Catapillr is urging businesses to become more family-friendly, as we believe the wellbeing of families is critical to business recovery.

The pandemic has left working parents facing a unique set of challenges.  It’s now more important than ever before, for employers to ensure they have policies in place to offer support.  This is crucial to the resilience of businesses and to ensure they continue to remain successful.

Our proposals are all about embracing the future of work, recognising that the health and wellbeing of families is critical to business recovery and success.  Numerous workplace studies have evidenced that supporting working parents leads to healthier, better-educated children.  Well rounded, thought our family-friendly workplace policies can also drive gender equality and economic growth.  The business benefits are also well documented, including better workforce productivity and the ability to attract, motivate and retain employees.

Our suggestions for employers include normalising flexible work, reviewing paid parental leave policies and offering innovative solutions to support parents with their childcare needs.

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Make all family leave policies gender equal

Employers should encourage all employees — male and female — to take parental leave or carer’s leave if they require it and push to challenge traditional gender norms regarding who takes on such unpaid work.  Employers should review their paid and unpaid leave options and consider introducing a ‘family leave’ option to complement existing personal leave provisions.

Offer flexible working

This includes noting that one size does not fit all and ensuring employers can meet “fluid demands” of work and home by embedding flexible work practices — and enabling workers to meet essential work and caring commitments as they change and evolve.  In a previous article, we wrote about the top 10 flexible working arrangements.

Provide financial wellbeing services

With working parents commonly facing financial pressures — and especially now during COVID-19 — employers can do more to support them during uncertain times by being transparent about job security and offering clear financial resources. An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) could also include options for financial coaching.  At Catapillr, we have developed a number of financial wellbeing tools such as our Childcare and Children’s activity cost calculator and our Income and Expense budgeting tool.

Invest in new childcare options

Investing in childcare and extended caring support benefits, can reduce employee turnover, improve absenteeism, and enhance employee engagement.  Employers should consider how they can better support childcare options for staff, by offering new support schemes, back up emergency care, respite support, vacation programs, and making their offices family-friendly.  Catapillr’s Childcare Cash Advance Scheme is an innovative new way in which employers can support their employees.

Develop health, safety and wellbeing support

This includes accepting that staff adapt differently to times of stress and will need varying levels of support in coping.  We urge employers to measure the work-life satisfaction of employees, devise and implement a wellbeing strategy, and to create open and safe communication channels.

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Provide new parent support

Employers must support the mental health of staff members expecting a baby, on parental leave or returning to work.  Practical parenting support should be readily available to staff, including as they transition back to work.  Employers can also aim to involve staff in the development of tools and resources designed to support a culture of healthy work-life balance.

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