How Employers Can Help Their Working Mothers
In a recent Pew Research report, it was noted that 74% of adults said that the increasing number of mothers working for pay had made it harder to raise children, and 51% agreed that children were better off if their mother was home and didn’t hold a job. Despite the general disapproval of the American public, 40% of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family.
Working moms aren’t going away. In fact, they contribute more to household income than ever before. The simple reality of today’s workplace is that employers need to accommodate working mothers in order to retain their female workforce and to attract the highest quality employee. Attracting working moms and creating a family-friendly environment in the workplace doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, some of the following suggestions won’t cost a thing.
1. Childcare – Finding quality childcare that doesn’t cost an entire paycheck is challenging, but it’s the first concern of a working mother. It’s a sad fact that some mothers must work longer hours just so they can afford childcare. It’s a vicious cycle that hurts the employee’s family, because they have less time with mom, and it hurts the employer because they have an unhappy employee.
One solution to this is adding the benefit of (daycare) tuition assistance as part of your company’s perks. You can offer a discount at a local daycare provider or some companies choose to add on-site daycare facilities. It’s important to note that with this country’s aging Baby Boomers, caring for a loved one can also mean an aging parent, which leads to the next challenge.
2. Scheduling – Working a straight 9-5 job is almost a memory these days. Companies often require long hours the office and expect their employees to demonstrate their work ethic by meeting this expectation. If you require your executive mothers to stay late, then it will only help you in the long run to give them the option of flexible scheduling.
3. Transportation Costs – After childcare, transportation costs are the second biggest financial drain for a working mother. Offer to reimburse train costs for employees or start an employer sponsored transportation program to offset costs. This has the added benefit of attracting more potential employees that might have disregarded your employment opportunities due to distance.
4. Housing Assistance – Have an out-of-town employee that works on-site part of the time? For any employee commuting over two hours each way to the office can be a stressful time suck. Offering a night in a rental home or motel business suite will take a lot of pressure off your employee if they need to clock late hours.
5. Stress – Working mothers’ greatest source of stress is the never-ending quest to achieve a healthy work-life balance. The fact of the matter is that society expects women to “have it all” and many women believe the same. But as one wise woman said, “it’s possible to have it all, just not at the same time.” Women can run themselves ragged trying to do everything in both their careers and at home. The stress of this then takes a toll on your employee’s health and work performance.
Transforming your workplace culture into a family-friendly zone can be done by adding flexibility and assistance with various services. By giving your employee power over her career with a variety of benefits and options, you can ensure her loyalty and health. The bottom line is that being sensitive to the needs of working mothers will only benefit you, the employer, in the long run.
“Breadwinner Moms” pewsocialtrends.org. Retrieved Sept. 29 2013.
Non-Salary Benefits You Should Negotiate For workingmother.com. Retrieved Sept. 29, 2013
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