Today is national Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work day. While we love the goal of this day—to help children discover the possibilities for their future and to develop our next-generation workforce—we want to take a moment to highlight a few ways employers can help all year long to prepare our children for success later in life.
In fact, workforce development, both now and in the future, is one of the core goals of Family Forward NC. Because we know that supporting parents and their children by incorporating workplace practices not only helps attract and retain top talent to the workforce now, but also impacts the long-term health and well-being for all children. This allows us to build a stronger economy now and a healthier, more prepared future workforce for the future.
That’s why we created the Guide to Family Forward Workplaces, which showcases 16 practices such as predictable scheduling, support for breastfeeding mothers, and paid family leave, all of which lead to more loyal, productive, supported workers, healthier children, and a future workforce that is ready to succeed.
So in honor of the 2019 Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, here are three ways employers can make their workplaces more supportive for parents and their children all year:
- Babies at work. A babies at work program allows parents to bring infants to work with them—typically for about six months or until the babies begin crawling. Though only about three percent of employers offer a formal babies at work policy, according to the Society for Human Resources Management, the benefits are numerous and include improved productivity (yes, even with babies in the office!); lower health care costs for employers; lower child care costs for parents; and improved economic security for families. The key, according to the national Parenting in the Workplace Institute (PIWI), is to treat a babies at work policy as you would any other workplace policy—anticipating potential issues, addressing them ahead of time, and adjusting as needed.
- On-site child care. Given that 99 out of 100 NC counties are child care deserts, or areas with three children for every one child care slot, finding high-quality child care in NC is a challenge. And even when parents find care, it’s expensive. Child care in this state costs on average more than a public university education tuition. That’s why finding and affording high-quality child care is a burden for many working parents. More than eight in 10 working parents say they wish their employer offered some sort of child care benefit, and seven in 10 parents say their work has been impacted by child care falling through. Employers who offer on-site child care see increased attraction and retention of talent, along with improved employee performance and a lower absenteeism rate.
- Pregnant worker accommodations. Despite federal and state laws meant to protect pregnant workers, the National Partnership for Women and Children estimates that nearly one-quarter of a million women are denied their requests for workplace pregnancy accommodations each year, and the number of pregnancy discrimination claims filed annually with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been steadily increasing for the past 20 years. Accommodations such as more frequent breaks, schedule modifications or paid time off to go to prenatal appointments is a low-cost way for employers to accommodate pregnant workers and improve both a that worker’s safety and the safety of her unborn baby.
This year, let’s celebrate Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work day by considering workplace policies that support children and parents all year—and throughout their lives.