Is your organisation really ‘family friendly’?

Easter is a time of year when many working parents are taking annual leave from their employment.

Many are of course doing so as a lifestyle choice to spend quality time with the family. Yet it would be a mistake to assume that this is the case for all parents.

The reality is that Britain is rapidly becoming a society where both parents are expected to work*. The Modern Families Index 2016 (for more information on this please click here) included several sets of statistics which support this assertion, with the following quote being particularly pertinent: “For families in the UK, each parent working full time is becoming the norm… in 49% of couple households both parents are working full time.”

The above excludes the legions of working families where one parent works full time and the other part-time, and all those single working parent families as well. And with the cost of childcare on the rise this presents significant financial challenges for many employees.

So the reality is that many working parents are exchanging annual leave entitlement not for quality family time but as a means of managing childcare costs. And this takes me back to the point of this post – is your organisation really “family friendly”?

Most employers like to claim that they are, yet the reality is that many do not live up to this boast. This was a recurring theme at a recent event in London (the Work+Family Think Tank). There is clearly a chasm for many employers between the rhetoric and the actual implementation of family friendly policies in the workplace.

So ticking the family friendly box is often not enough. What may be needed is some genuine impetus and engagement from the employer to make such practices happen, and one such example from a speaker at the above event was particularly striking.

Tom Lewthwaite, a Partner at Deloitte, asked to be copied in on all the non-approved flexible working requests at his organisation. As a result of this review process it was ultimately possible to find a practical solution to all such requests, thus helping the employee and almost certainly improving their engagement (and therefore loyalty and productivity) as well.

Whilst the above solution may not work for smaller employers and/or those in other industries, it does at least demonstrate that an open and engaged attitude from management can make all the difference to the effectiveness of any given policy – and particularly those within the “family friendly” remit.

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It would be remiss not to finish on one example connected directly to the world of employee benefit provision. With around a year to go until the introduction of Tax Free Childcare, now is the time for family-friendly employers to educate and inform their employees about this new benefit and it’s interaction with the existing Childcare Vouchers offering. Such a relatively minor time commitment could make a significant financial difference to many parents and their families. For more on this topic please click here, or speak to your usual Jelf consultant.

For the full original article and other similar posts, please visit the Jelf Group blog.