The government is currently consulting on requiring employers with more than 250 staff to publish their parental leave and pay policies. That’s because the working population needs information and ideas on how to combine their job with their family life. Whether this becomes a rule or not, employer should be ready for an increased level of scrutiny.
The head of famous parenting site Mumsnet says HR professionals should be 'loud and proud' about their family-friendly policies. Flexible working practices and family-friendly policies can play a key role in enabling companies and organisations to attract and retain the best female talent. They can also help to build a positive brand image which appeals to mothers and carers.
Statutory entitlements to leave and pay for new parents are key to this vision for ‘good work’ says the Government. However, recent research suggests there’s far more to this equation.
The 2018 Modern Family Index drew data from 2,750 families across the country to explore the experience of working families. Respondents said:
- The UK has a long hours culture where parents feel they need to be present. That’s because either poor job design leaves people too much work, or it’s structured in a way that needs long hours. Secondly, workplace culture means parents fear that if they ask for their rights and entitlements, their careers won’t progress.
- One in five parents have stalled their careers and one in ten have refused a new job or turned down a promotion to keep their lives in balance. This is most common among younger parents and may become a recurring challenge for employers.
To manage this, employers should aim to deliver aspirational workplaces, not just tick a box, the index analysis says. Organisations that don’t offer flexible working risk being left behind in the jobseeker market. Priorities need to be better job design, effective organisation and management, and most importantly, a culture that truly supports balanced working lives.
This is not an easy win. Companies need senior managers to buy-in and stand up and talk about it. Line managers that will appreciate and support it. It’s about talent retention. It’s about a business that does better and is better. It’s about common sense. It’s thinking about people and what they need – and what they’ll do for the business in return.
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