How family-friendly are your employers?
So how are you coping with childcare over the summer holidays?
Almost every working mum I’ve spoken to over the holidays has asked me this question. And yet, the working men have not asked. Is it because they have no children or are they leaving that to their partners to sort it all out?
Words: Griselda Togobo;
For me, this is a strong indicator that there is still a lot of work to be done to make sure that working parents –male and female- are sharing childcare responsibility and that employers are giving them the opportunity, support and flexibility to be able to share this load equally amongst them.
Women will continue to leave the workplace in their vast numbers if they continue to be solely responsible for all the childcare needs of their families.
All year round, during a typical work day, most working parents leave early before the kids go to school to do a fairly long commute, only to race through the day to make school run and bed times and homework. Further work is done in the evenings with a final checking of emails before calling it a night. The only quality time parents can have with their parents can be on weekend between chores and chauffeuring kids to and from clubs.
The summer holidays are supposed to be better, offering a time for working families to relax and spend quality time with their children but unfortunately, most working parents dread the holidays! It’s a nightmare finding comprehensive childcare over the summer not to mention the cost involved or the lack of flexible working opportunities, holidays etc to cover the whole summer holidays.
This is not ideal and a source of stress, exhaustion and anxiety for a lot of working mothers. It's an ongoing struggle to find quality, affordable childcare all year round let alone during the summer months. Ultimately, it's the women who leave the workforce when it all becomes untenable.
We, women, need to step up and ask for support from our partners but also most importantly there is an opportunity for employers to facilitate this by offering opportunities for their employees -male and female- to access family friendly practices and support at work.
Imagine working for an employer that encourages you to take time off during the summer holidays.
Imagine if you could flex your hours, buy extra holidays, work outside the office when you needed that extra time off so you could spend quality time with your kids.
Imagine on-site childcare at the office that would give you the opportunity to have lunch with your children and to spend quality with them whilst also doing work you loved.
How can we make this a reality?
Most employers are so focused on attracting talent and hitting diversity targets, yet these goals could be achieved if we all focused on providing support - real tangible practical support to help people live a fulfilled live whilst at work.
What extra support could your employers offer in the summer months to make you the sort of parent you wanted to be?
What would be most valuable to you over the summer months?
What support does your employer have in place that makes it a great place for working families?
So…how are you coping with childcare over the summer holidays?
Let's hear from you!
PS: How can working with Forward Ladies, make you a better employer?
Through our work with HSBC, HSBC launched a parental support package to help small UK businesses overcome the financial challenges of parental leave, including interest-free overdrafts, repayment support for small business loans and capital repayment holidays.
The HSBC Parental Leave Support Package for small businesses with fewer than five employees and a turnover of up to £1 million. The package will apply to employees of either gender going on parental leave, covering maternity, shared parental leave, adoption and surrogacy. The three key elements include:
- No interest charged or arrangement fees paid on new or existing business overdrafts up to £5,000 for 12 months
- Repayment support for customers with an existing Small Business Loan through an additional interest-free limit on business overdrafts
- A capital repayment holiday for existing Variable Rate Flexible Business Loans or Commercial Mortgages for up to 12 months
The support package aims to address a major concern among small businesses, who want more support when an employee goes on parental leave. This issue is highlighted in a new HSBC survey which reveals that 57 per cent of small UK businesses are without a plan to deal with an employee going on parental leave, with the financial cost their greatest concern. To find out more about how our partnership with HSBC can help you grow your business, then click here.