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Fostering a family-friendly workplace

Fostering a family-friendly workplace

While allowing babies into the workplace is a step too far for many industries, there are several ways to implement family-friendly practices that support the needs of your employees. Here we take a look at the pros and cons involved.


Paid parental leave

The current scheme provides government-funded parental leave pay for up to 18 weeks. It can commence at birth or adoption, or later. For the employer, it can help improve retention rates and reduce financial pressure. It’s equal to the national minimum wage, so you might want to consider topping it up with employer-funded paid parental leave. Either way, the government will pay the same amount to the employee.

Flexible working arrangements

Balancing workplace duties with school runs, sport practice, GP visits, birthday parties and the myriad other responsibilities of being a parent can be a struggle at the best of times. The Fair Work Ombudsman states that every award and enterprise agreement must include an individually negotiated flexibility provision. As the employer, you will need to weigh the short-term challenges of a flexible arrangement against the long-term benefits it is likely to provide, such as higher staff satisfaction and reduced turnover.

Breastfeeding and on-site childcare

If you aren’t able to provide as much maternal leave as other businesses, you could consider setting aside special private areas where mothers can breastfeed or express, saving them from having to use the toilets. Not all employers will be able to provide on-site childcare, but if you can, it can significantly reduce employee stress levels, as well as eliminate the daily commute between work and childcare facilities.

Childcare placement assistance

Even when an on-site arrangement isn’t possible, there are other ways you can support working parents regarding their childcare needs. One option you may want to consider is to provide employees with an information kit that gives details on local childcare facilities and fees. An employer-sponsored facility is allowed to give top priority to employees’ children, which saves parents from having to deal with the stress of being placed on a waiting list.

Most people end up starting and raising a family at some point during their lives. Adopting family-friendly strategies can lead to greater job satisfaction, and help attract and retain skilled and valuable staff. Flexibility in the workplace can also improve productivity and efficiency by helping to cultivate a motivated workforce with reduced staff turnover and absenteeism.

Allowing your workers space for family time and relaxation can, in turn, pay dividends for your business. Learn how work-life balance strategies often translate into a win-win for everyone.

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