If we have learned one thing from the Corona crisis, closed schools and childcare and grandparents who could not babysit, it is that combining work and family is top sport. And that is an understatement. Therefore, it’s time for employers to adjust their policies accordingly and start working on family-friendly employment. Fortunately, there are already a number of organisations setting a good example (and have been for some time)!
What can you do to be a family-friendly employer? We give you a few examples. Tip of the iceberg: that means more than just smiling endearingly when a baby unintentionally appears on screen during your Zoom call.
Why do you want to be a family-friendly employer?
In a nutshell, because everyone benefits; the parents, the children and the employer alike. The family because there is more time for each other, the parent because PSA (psychosocial workload) is lower and the employer because the employee is happier, shows much less absenteeism and is therefore more productive. Besides, the old picture of rigid employers who think you should just ‘combine family + career’ simply doesn’t fit anymore.
Family-friendly employment = flexible working hours
Clocking in at 08:30 and clocking out at 17:00? Better not. We can already tell you that with this system, quite a few stressed-out parents will find themselves racing to the day-care centre/ primary school in the morning, so they can open their laptop in a hurry, stressed out and frustrated. So be flexible when it comes to working hours and working from home. Your employee will feel more comfortable and start the working day better (and more productive).
But also consider additional leave arrangements
You can choose to stick only to statutory leave. You can also choose to go the extra mile as a family-friendly employer. For instance, some employers offer additional schemes whereby parental or birth leave for partners is paid in full, instead of the 70% payment under the law. Also consider additional leave schemes for women who have suffered a miscarriage.
Are you aiming for family-friendly employment? Then also orientate yourself to the possibilities of enabling childcare. There are organisations that have day care for children but also organisations that support their employees by making babysitters available.
Privacy and space for breastfeeding mothers
This needs to be more than just the stockroom that you have put a chair in or an empty meeting room that happens to be unmanned for an hour. As a family-friendly employer, pay more attention to this. For example, Greenpeace has a veritable lounge where women can find some privacy when they are pumping and filling a bottle. Sounds excessive? It isn’t. According to Joyce Knappen, director of Pro Parents and an expert on work and parenting, negative experiences with this in the workplace can cause mothers to stop breastfeeding sooner or even (temporarily) stop working. Definitely an important topic!
The most family-friendly employers in the Netherlands
Intermediair, together with Ouders van Nu, conducted a survey on the most family-friendly employers in the Netherlands. High scores were: WWF, Hema, a.s.r. & Tony Chocolonely’s. Among others because of extensive leave arrangements, a babysitting and childcare service and a real baby bonus from Tony Chocolonely’s; an extra amount of money to help parents with the extra costs a baby entails. Now, at Hire.nl we already knew that chocolate is always a good idea anyway, but now we have learned that chocolate itself has the best ideas.