A Global Perspective: Family-Friendly Work Policies

I moved to the US at the end of 2015, having been fortunate enough to work for a large multinational company for 15 years, who had a number of family friendly policies that enabled me to have my two daughters and a successful career as an engineer, achieving a Directorship.

When I moved to the US I was shocked by how little support there was for working mothers and parents. I strongly believe that given the right environment it can be a win-win situation for both the working parent and the company.

I met Amy Landry, the Creator of the Diapers to Desk BALANCE program, and we teamed up to try and change the world! My focus with Diapers to Desk is to educate companies and why they should take the time, effort and money to have family friendly policies, programs and in particular how important it is to support and coach mothers returning from parental leave.

We live in a Global Market Economy and as such, it is important to contextualize the management of working parents in the United States, from a global perspective. One of the important needs of a working parent is to achieve a good work-life balance. However, according to research carried out by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), during their conducting of a Better Life Index assessment in 2015 (http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/topics/work-life-balance), the US ranked 30th out of 38 advanced nations surveyed countries for work-life balance. Countries such as Canada, Brazil and the United Kingdom all ranked higher. For US companies to succeed in this Global Market, the attraction and retention of working parents is a key factor.

The US Department of Labor Women’s Bureau (https://www.dol.gov/wb/) shows statistics that women with young families (under the age of 6) are leaving the workforce. In 2013 the percentage of mothers in the workforce with children aged 6-17 years was 75%, vs 57% of mothers with a child under the age of 1. The economic impact to the US of the loss of these women to the workforce could be significant, but it can also impact individual businesses.

A number of companies based in the US have recognized this as a business issue and have introduced enhanced parental leave, family friendly policies and post maternity leave coaching programs. These include companies such as Shell, Ernst & Young and Etsy to name but a few.

In this blog I want to champion the companies that “Get it” and during my research I came across a powerful video from Etsy, demonstrating both the impact to their individual employees but also that it made good business sense.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i12JHVHXHKc

At Diapers to Desk we have programs specifically designed to support new moms with maternity re-entry, personality stress management for all parents and educational workshops for companies to build better business practices that promote work-life balance.