Parents with children have always needed to balance their work and home commitments. As life becomes more complicated, it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so. It is important that employers implement policies and practices that support employees to find this balance.
According to the families and Labour Market 2019 Report, 75% of women and 92% of men in the UK workforce have dependent children. The proportion of parents who stated that the faced obstacles as parents at work decreased as their children got older: 34.9% of parents with younger kids(0-4 years) to 24.9% with older kids(11-14 years).
There are various ways that businesses can support employees with families, such as allowing employees time off for sick children, flexible working hours for parents, maternity leave, paternity leave, and adoption leave. There are legal requirements for maternity and paternity leave, but some employers choose to provide leave that is longer than the legal minimum. Additionally, For support employees can ask for flexible working hours once you have exceeded the 26 weeks limit. However, your employer can deny flexible working under a few circumstances like additional costs, customer demand, inability to reorganize work among existing staff, detrimental impact on quality, damaging influence on performance.
Let’s take a look at how business can Support employees with families.
1. Child Care Options
Employers can provide on-site daycare options for the children or pay a percentage of external childcare fees. They can also arrange referrals for good childcare options or book a slot at daycare for employees’ children.
Additionally, businesses can support employees breastfeeding mothers to continue breastfeeding for six months, as recommended by global standards, by providing a comfortable space to breastfeed. Flexible emergency leave should also be provided for parents to attend medical or some other critical emergencies usually paid.
2. Provide Flexible Working Hours
There is a variety of ways flexibility in working hours can be provided, such as working from home, job-sharing, compressed hours, and self rostering. Parental responsibilities can take a toll on an individual’s schedule, so to empower them employers can allow self-rostering which will ensure their maximum efforts. This way, the team member has the flexibility to fulfill both their work and parental responsibilities. Having control over the situation can greatly help to reduce stress.
An annualized system for tracking working hours can be helpful as well: this can support employees to reach job satisfaction and better mental health. Temporary switching to part-time can help new mothers find a balance between motherhood and career. Work from home options can be an excellent solution, although remote work and telecommuting is not suitable for every industry.
3. Provide Clear Information
It is important for employers to be clear and proactive in discussing company guidelines and policies with their staff. Some essential policies like workplace and health, equal opportunity, code of conduct, leave of absence in addition to employee disciplinary action policy are among the fundamental policies that should be discussed well in advance before joining. This gives workers a clear picture of expectations and responsibilities. Open communication helps employers and employees come to arrangements that suit everyone and are mutually beneficial.
4. Encourage Good Hygiene
Hygiene has always been important in the workplace, and healthy workplaces are more critical now more than ever. Hygiene issues in the workplace increase the rate of employee sick leave, which is costly for the business. This also puts extra pressure on all workers, including those with workers. For employees with workers who are already under strain, a healthy and safe working environment is particularly critical. Not to mention any infections they pick up at work puts their kids at risk!
5. Offer Paid Family Leave
Under current UK requirements, employers must offer by support employees at least 26 weeks of parental leave. This allows biological and non-biological parents to take time off for their parental responsibilities. Antenatal care can be introduced by expecting mothers and paid at a normal rate. Currently, fathers are not allowed to assist their pregnant partners, but this is an extra step that employers can take to support employees both parents to be involved in the process.
The current system permits 52 weeks of paid maternity leave, 39 weeks out of which can be financed. The first six weeks are paid at 90% of salary while the rest of the 33 weeks are given payment at SMP rate (less than 90%).
Fathers are allowed two weeks of paternity leave paid at less than 90% of normal earnings. If a mother returns to work earlier or commits to ending her maternity leave, it will give rise to a joint entitlement for flexible parental leave. A statutory flexible parental pay for the remaining weeks of leave can be taken by any of the parents. Additionally, an annual medical check-up for the dependants and employees is provided that increases healthcare awareness and prevents diseases.
These are the legal requirements for employers. However, businesses looking to support employees can offer additional paid leave. Such practices, along with the others described above, will not only be beneficial to the employees but also build trust and loyalty and encourage better productivity when the employee is back at work. In this way, these policies are beneficial to employers as well as their workers!
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