Supporting parents within your business

It’s never been easy juggling parenthood with working. In the past it led to many stay-at-home parents, usually mothers, never returning to the workforce.

It will have been an opportunity lost to many, as well as the employers who could have benefited from their talents.

New research from a childcare provider (studying 3,000 families) found that compared to 2023, about 10% more parents are feeling they lack support from their employers (38% then, 42% now). The continued cost of living crisis can’t be helping.

If you have working parents within your team, the dangers of this sentiment are that you get distracted or burnt-out employees who cannot operate at peak productivity for you. Or they look for a job elsewhere that better fits their circumstances, draining talent from your business.

Ways you can support working parents

Whether you are determined to keep valued members of staff, or just want to have happy, motivated employees, there are a number of things that you can do to support working parents in your business. From understanding the various statutory leave entitlements that are available, to offering a well-considered employee benefits package, some carry legal obligations whilst others offer cost-effective solutions.

Statutory leave entitlements

There are several statutory leaves that are non-negotiable and designed to help parents bond with, and provide care for, their children until they are 18 years old (or older if they remain a dependant). Being aware of these, signposting them if your employee is not, and respecting the rules will go a long way to supporting working parents in your business. The leaves available include:

  • Maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave and pay
  • Time off for dependant emergencies
  • Unpaid parental leave
  • Unpaid carer’s leave
  • Statutory parental bereavement leave and pay

These each work in different ways, with rules that provide a degree of balance for you and your employees.

Tailor your employee benefits

If you offer a range of employee benefits you will, of course, want to ensure they are desirable to all your staff. What might appeal to working parents? Here are three things we think could work well:

  1. The option to purchase more annual leave allowance
  2. A health cash plan which will pay for some private treatments for the family (they are very cost effective for employers).
  3. A flexible benefits platform, where every employee can pick and choose what’s best for them based on your budget. We have a good solution for this, so please ask.

Flexible working that works for your business

Flexible working patterns are becoming increasingly normalised and the right to request flexible working is already enshrined in law. From April 2024 it becomes a day one right. You don’t have to grant requests, but you do have to consider them reasonably and respond within prescribed time frames.

Keep in mind flexible working is not a free for all and is not synonymous with working from home. Working parents may just ask for adjusted hours to accommodate a school run. If working from home is requested be absolutely clear that this is not an acceptable substitute for childcare. When working for you they should be 100% focused on their job.

What about getting on the front foot and designing flexible roles: job shares or term-time only jobs where the workload permits, for instance?

Get help from The HR Dept.

Supporting parents within your business

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Whether you are a small business or a multi-national market leader, Drum Business Park is the perfect place to locate and run your business.


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