How to Make Your Business Friendly to New Parents

If you’ve got kids, then you are sympathetic to the perils of a new parent. If you don’t have children, then that is even more of a reason for you to heed the following advice.

Millennials, those of the generation born between 1980 and the mid-90s, will make up nearly 40 percent of the workforce within the next few years and 75 percent by 2030. During this time, they will also be starting their families. Having family-friendly policies in place will benefit not only your employees, but also your business in general.

What are family-friendly policies?

Family-friendly policies make it easier for working parents to obtain a work-life balance and fulfill both their family and work obligations. New parents have the special challenge of going through a life-changing event like they’ve never before experienced. Catering to that as an employer means more than words can describe. Phil Rabinowitz of Community Tool Box, a service of the Work Group for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas, offered a few examples of how to make your business friendly to new parents:

  • Maternity/paternity leave.The U.S. Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth of a child and other similar situations, but only for employees in companies with a payroll of 50 or more. As a small business, you can include this in the benefit package the same guarantee, either paid or unpaid.
  • Having family-friendly policies in place will benefit not only your employees, but also your business in general.Flex-time.Once back to work, this would give the employee the freedom to create a flexible work schedule, as long as they put in their allotted hours.
  • An employee could also work from home or another remote site all or some of the time, communicating with the company via e-mail and telephone.
  • Job sharing.Two or more employees share a single position by each working a fraction of the necessary time that way people can still hold the positions they want, and still have time to spend with children.
  • Temporary or permanent switch to part-time.A full-time employee might be allowed to change to a part-time position as part of a job share or simply as a reduction in working hours.
  • Child care.Offer onsite daycare, if possible, or subsidize employees’ childcare, paying all or some part of approved arrangements.
  • Parental leave.This is a short-term option that allows a parent to take an afternoon or a day off to pick up a sick child at school, care for one at home, attend a school event or otherwise tend to a child’s needs.
  • Flexible emergency leave.A certain number of days each year are offered to attend to medical or other emergencies, usually with pay; these are akin to sick days.
  • Health benefits.Offering health and dental insurance is the most basic way to cater to the needs of families. This may also include onsite fitness centers or subsidies for joining a gym and more.
  • Family-oriented environment.Allow employees to bring their children to work with them when necessary. Maybe even set up a playroom with toys and videos for kids.

What’s in it for you?

Implementing these types of policies may take an adjustment period at first. Rules may need tweaking along the way, and new ones may be added. Bottom line, though, is that they are a win-win for everyone involved. Obviously, the parents will be thrilled with the extra benefits and flexibility that adds to their growing family’s well-being. However, there are many benefits to your business as well.

From protecting your home while you’re away to protecting your identity and wallet – Colonial has the resources and tools you need to stay safe on your next vacation.First, and most important, it improves employee satisfaction by showing you care. With more choices and options, employees feel more in control, which leads to less stress and thus improved productivity.

“All of this contributes to peace of mind for everyone, and means when parents are at work, they can concentrate on work without being distracted by the demands of family,” Rabinowitz wrote.

Furthermore, a balanced work life and family life leads to an improved quality of life overall, leading your employees to feel a sense of loyalty toward you. According to Business Week, a number of studies demonstrate a relationship between family-friendly policies and employee retention, which makes complete sense. It is also a huge benefit to the employer, as training costs are reduced along with the hassle of losing the knowledge and experience of a veteran employee.

With family-friendly policies, your good reputation might even precede you; you will attract the best and brightest candidates when you are looking for new hires, and what you have to offer will be a selling point for those potential employees to choose your company over another.

Last and likely most important, you will be making an investment in society and the future of America. These policies can lead to better parent-child bonding, a positive example of an ever-present parent and more stability in the household, improving the outlook for the next generation. Also, they allow more people to maintain jobs and contribute economically to society.

“By creating a better work-family balance, family-friendly policies allow employees in two-income or single parent families to improve their economic status and quality of life,” said Rabinowitz. “The more families are able to flourish economically, the better it is for society, as well as for the families themselves.”


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