Why is it important to support employees before and after the birth of their new-born babies?

Investing in family-friendly policies must be prioritised by businesses. How should this be done?

When companies support working parents, they foster a culture of work-life balance, which is highly desirable for recruiting and retaining top talent. This also supports employee wellness and may help keep health care prices down.

It is a fact that most first-time mothers continue to work until just one month before childbirth, but maternity leave planning or baby showers shouldn’t be put off until then. Supporting pregnant workers is not a one-size-fits all approach.

Parents who work long hours miss a lot of time with their babies during the first year of their children’s lives. Within the current economic situation and the scarcity of good jobs, they have no choice. Family-friendly policies like paid parental leave, breastfeeding breaks, and childcare aren’t a reality for new parents.

Business can help parents provide their children the best start in life by becoming Baby friendly and ensuring that women are not discriminated against based on pregnancy, motherhood, or family obligations.

A three months support programme would show that the company supports and celebrates their employees becoming parents. From the time when the parents are announcing their pregnancy, employees should receive a congratulations gift for example a book as a gift with a title like: “What to expect when you’re expecting”, to show that the company celebrates the new life with them and will be supporting them through the whole process. Continuing the support by sending a personalised online newborn baby gift to the home or hospital the day the baby is born should be another consideration.  Lastly, to make the transition from home to work a bit easier, the parent should be presented with a welcome back gift when coming back to work after paternity or maternity leave.

Companies can furthermore ensure parents can spend quality time with their children during the critical postpartum period with a minimum of four months of paid parental leave.

Companies can also support breastfeeding at work through paid breastfeeding breaks and lactation facilities along with a supportive breastfeeding environment.

New mothers can also be granted flexible working time arrangements through work from home policies.

There is also need to guide parents on the importance of giving their children quality early childhood education to develop the skills they need to reach their full potential. This can be achieved by providing access to affordable and quality childcare.

Businesses can also promote family friendly programs, such as within the company and promote it through the company’s social media and other means. Beyond legal compliance, consideration must be made to improve working conditions for workers through decent salaries that reflect the cost of living for families.

It’s a win-win situation: Investing in family-friendly policies makes individuals more productive, and attracts, motivates, and retains employees.

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