For many new parents, it is difficult to leave our little ones behind while we work. If one cannot find a nanny, new parents are forced to bring their children to work with them. Sadly, not all workspaces are kid-friendly and it may even cause discrimination between workers.
I am fortunate to have my cake and eat it too as a freelancing mom. Not everyone can work under pressuring deadlines while having their 2-year-old running and yelling on top of her voice. (Hence my rule is that I never work when my little one is awake.)
If you are worried about discrimination and your child’s safety while at work, here are the signs you should look for to determine if you are working in a family-friendly workplace:
If you are applying for a job or due for contract renewal, you should check if your workplace is open to flexible work arrangements. While applying for the job, ask about flexible schedules or work-at-home schemes.
Nowadays, many companies are promoting remote work hours so employees, especially those with families, could work while at home.
You should also inquire about their policies regarding emergencies. Would they allow you to leave immediately if there is an emergency at home? If they do allow it, ask about the guidelines on how it will be considered. Make sure they don’t have too many red tapes surrounding this.
- Family offs
You never know when your child or family members will need your help and if you are in work, it is good if you can leave to attend to these needs. Ask your employer if they have any paid leaves you can take for family events and needs.
Some companies also have parental benefits available to help families adjust to their new status. Some of these benefits include paternity or maternity leave and health insurance that covers the entire family.
- Breastfeeding support
For new mothers who are breastfeeding their children, it is important to know if your workspace has breastfeeding support.
Many employers today allow employees to take breaks to pump breastmilk. Others even have lactation rooms built to help breastfeeding mothers, as well as pregnancy support classes.
- Family-friendly events
Does your company have special events for families?
Many family-friendly workplaces often hold special bonding events for families each year. Having these events would help reduce discrimination between workers and help them feel welcome. It will also allow workers to know each other in a relaxed environment.
If you cannot find someone to watch over your child while you work, the tendency is that you will bring them to work with you. Check if your workplace has a daycare facility on site or if the office is near one. Some offices nowadays come with daycare facilities within the premises so employees can bring their kids with them to work.
If you cannot find a daycare facility near or on site, some employers may offer a subsidy to pay for your child’s daycare fee. Others may help you find the right daycare to enrol your kids to while you work.
Companies should make it a priority to make their workspaces welcoming to families. This will help workers feel inspired to work every day because they know that the company cares for their needs and values families.
If the workplace does not offer any of these services, you may need to reconsider your options and find another that offers a family-friendly workplace.
Is your workplace a friendly place for families? Come and share with us in the comments below.
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