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Supporting Carers in the Workplace

March 13, 2017

 

Following on from Mother’s Day recently, we noticed this year just what a big deal it seems to be these days.  

 

A ton of people showed their appreciation for the women in their lives with flowers, chocolates, and cards.  

 

We also noticed the upsurge in social commentary about fathers, and grandparents, who also share parenting and carer responsibility, and who also deserve recognition.

 

Treat Your Carer Workforce Well

As an employer, the greatest gift that you can give working parents, grandparents and carers goes a little bit deeper than cards, chocolates and a national day of recognition...

 

Really, it’s your duty to make sure that they’re treated equally in the workplace, and that any decision to start a family or enter into a care arrangement for a dependent doesn’t have to negatively impact a person's career.  

 

It’s 2017 after all, so you might think that we’re past the stage where these kinds of things are still burning issues, but we beg to differ - the statistics speak for themselves, and much of the focus still remains on women, and more specifically mothers, in the workplace.

 

​Statistics Count

According to the World Economic Forum, it could take another 170 years to eliminate the gender pay gap. And of course, the fact that women are more likely to take on childcare responsibilities can play a big role in how they’re able to pursue opportunities.

 

Businesses can ensure they’re embracing legislation regardless of the size and set-up of the company - this can often even be to the advantage of smaller businesses, as it opens up a wider talent pool when they offer flexible and part time opportunities.

 

Keeping Up With Employment Legislation

Legislation exists to ensure that employers are fulfilling their legal responsibilities, and there have been several developments in recent years designed to support working parents and carers.

 

For example, shared parental leave is something that all workplaces should be carefully considering.  Employment law can seem complicated and overwhelming, but remember that it exists to ensure that you’re a fair and equal employer.

 

Use it to your advantage, and in a way that supports your people.  Look for solutions and opportunities instead of problems.

 

Don't Panic!

If you run a small business and an employee announces that they’ll be taking maternity leave soon, you might feel slightly panicked.

 

Regardless of how much you want to support your staff, the reality of having to navigate through the changes can be overwhelming, and it's highly likely that your employee will be looking to you to guide them!  

 

Instead of just looking at the potential problems though, examine the opportunities that exist: is there another member of staff who can step up and cover the role? Could this be an indicator that it’s time for you to start to look towards more flexible working practices?

 

Take time to think about how this situation can be turned on its head to make your workplace more attractive to staff, and successful as a business?

 

Decisions Made in Isolation Aren't Inclusive

Yes, you're the boss, but you should speak to your people - you already speak to them all the time, so this might seem a little bit obvious.

 

But are you actually having meaningful, honest, and open conversations about your role as an employer, and how you can support your workforce as they navigate their way through key life stages?  

 

Rather than just assuming that you know what your working mothers want and need, ask them. It may be the case that small changes to your policies and practices could make a big difference to your workforce!

 

If you know that you need to make changes to give various segments of your employees a better chance to thrive and succeed, then there’s no time like the present.

 

If issues are bubbling away under the surface, or you suspect that problems could arise if you don’t take action, get in touch today. We can arrange to have a no-obligation discussion about your options, and how we might be able to work together.

 

 

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