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What's THE best thing an employer could offer working parents

(147 Posts)
MrsNuckyThompson Mon 22-Jun-15 12:34:38

I've joined a task force at work and we're trying to come up with some 'blue sky' ideas around this topic. Obviously budget will be a consideration, but let's assume for now that it isn't - just trying to get a feel for what most people value. If you could design something pretty special to make working life easy for working parents (although with a particular focus on mothers to increase gender balance at work) what would you offer? Assume a decent maternity / paternity offering already. Could be things like:

- onsite creche
- guarantee of part time hours
- compressed working week available (ie 9 day fortnight)
- summer hours (half days on Fridays from May-September)
- emergency childcare provided
- reimbursement for cleaner at home

I think ideally it would be something which could make a splash like the recently announced 1 year paid paternity policy at Virgin. So, go wild!

JaniceJoplin Mon 22-Jun-15 12:37:35

Flexi time ie core hours 10-12 and 2-4, with the flexibility of actually working any hours outside of that between 7 and 7, to reach your contracted hours.

I had this with my old employer and it was honestly worth £20k on top of your salary and that was before I had DC.

It is available for every employee. That's important.

Lariflete Mon 22-Jun-15 12:38:15

Free childcare. That would increase take-home pay enormously and honestly, would have meant I could have gone back full-time and not sacrificed my career. It would also be lovely to have some disposable income every month!

for me it would have been creche preferably subsidised. and flexible hours to allow for those school events and stuff without having to use up leave. also some sort of holiday club for the school hols. all pretty standard stuff really.

TattyCatty Mon 22-Jun-15 12:42:51

Ability to work from home - I am FT but extremely fortunate to be based from home 95% of the time, and can't imagine juggling everything if I had a commute on top.
Reduced hours during school holidays, but with salary adjusted so still 12 equal payments. My company are fab, but I was just met with much scratching of the head when I asked if I could go back down to 4 days a week during holidays. Still haven't find a way around it!

Iggly Mon 22-Jun-15 12:44:01

Tatty, ask for annualised hours. A bit like what teachers do....

FeelingSmurfy Mon 22-Jun-15 12:44:04

Understanding when you have to drop everything and run, kids don't tell you 3 weeks before they are going to be ill

CMOTDibbler Mon 22-Jun-15 12:46:03

I think the only thing that makes a difference is having a portfolio of working pattern options open to everyone - genuinely welcoming part time and job share proposals, flexi time (even the ability to flex a bit and have Friday afternoons off made a huge difference to me), and an agreement that anything that means the work gets done is up for discussion

Chchchchangeabout Mon 22-Jun-15 12:46:28

Flexibility so can work round childcare, illness, etc

Pippidoeswhatshewants Mon 22-Jun-15 12:46:46

Flexi time (with or without core hours)
Paid for childcare / guaranteed space / company crèche
Childcare at home for sick children
Weekly cleaner
Work from home (fixed or flexible)

Thurlow Mon 22-Jun-15 12:48:28

Flexible working, as in saying that you need to work 35 hours and that can be within a certain time frame during the week and include some working from home.

A lot of jobs can't be done from home (MN is a magical place sometimes where everyone seems to do jobs that involve little interacting with other people!) but there is still some flexibility to be had occasionally.

Free childcare and subsidised creches and that are a nice idea but very dependent on where the office is and how many staff travel there. As in, in central London it would be a terrible idea because of the need to travel with kids on public transport.

Titsalinabumsquash Mon 22-Jun-15 12:48:31

Flexibility for working at home would improve our lives a lot!
Flexible working hours would be good too, if DP is willing to start work 2 hrs early everyday, surely he should beagle to finish early to see sports days etc.

Littlef00t Mon 22-Jun-15 12:49:25

Flexible working with excellent remote access
Childcare vouchers
Job sharing culture
Corporate discounts for family attractions, holidays etc
Return from mat leave enhanced pay
Option to purchase additional annual leave

As much as anything it's about a genuine family friendly culture, where work life balance is truly, genuinely valued.

BerniceBroadside Mon 22-Jun-15 12:50:25

Flexible working. And the ability to work from home.

And let all staff have the above. Only giving it to parents breeds resentment.

formerlyofLadysmith Mon 22-Jun-15 12:50:55

Flexi time, ability to work from home.

formerlyofLadysmith Mon 22-Jun-15 12:51:48

I'm guessing this doesn't apply to your field, but sufficient notice of shifts would make a massive difference to us. We are supposed to get 6 weeks notice but it can be as little as 2 weeks.

cakesonatrain Mon 22-Jun-15 12:52:24

Annualized flexible hours sounds like my favourite out of those mentioned. And working from home.

TheGirlAtTheRockShow Mon 22-Jun-15 12:53:45

Onsite, free (or heavily subsidised) childcare for me!

HenriettaBarnet Mon 22-Jun-15 12:54:53

flexi time
ability to work from home
ability to buy annual leave
a full range of flexible working arrangements (e.g. compressed hours, part time working, term time working, job shares, different hours etc ).

PrincessOfChina Mon 22-Jun-15 12:55:03

I like the flexible working idea the most. We have core hours already but they're 10-4 when really 10-2 would be better and give flexibility for school drop off or pick up.

Help towards childcare costs would be awesome. Perhaps a bit like the cash payments in lieu of company car.

WhatToDoWithMy2 Mon 22-Jun-15 12:56:41

Ability to work school hours. With holidays off!

TalkinPeace Mon 22-Jun-15 12:56:43

Another vote for flexi core with remote access.

The fact that in the summer holidays one of my work places is like the Marie Celeste : but ALL of the team are available on email

sports day : fine, go, but make sure all of the email is done beforehand and no work slips
poorly kid : no worries, update the website from home

certain hours are non negotiable : eg face to face events, but spouses are much happier to guarantee covering those if they know that they will not get the random calls

flexibility is what makes employees happy - even those with no children but a brother in law who had a car crash and so all timings went pear shaped

for forward facing jobs : make sure there are sufficient staff to not need to screw around the ones you have.

in the good old days, all hospitals ran a "staffing bank" - it needs to be reinvented

Februaryblue Mon 22-Jun-15 12:56:44

Flexible and/or annualised hours. Paid leave for caring responsibilities, could be handled like sick leave up to a maximum number of days. Ds had 3 weeks in hospital and I was faced with unpaid leave or making up time (and I think my work are really flexible) but perhsps a week of paid time off would have made a big difference

TheBabyFacedAssassin Mon 22-Jun-15 13:00:05

Onsite subsidised childcare would be the dream.

However - all I am entitled to is SMP so anything over and above that would be awesome.

Any jobs going OP? grin

BerylStreep Mon 22-Jun-15 13:02:03

Flexible working, and a culture where it is actively promoted (as opposed to grudgingly given and sneered at).

As my children have got older, my needs in terms of flexible working have changed. When they were babies, it suited me better to do fewer, longer days, so there were fewer days at nursery / childminders, and clear days that I had off with them. Initially I did 2 x 10 hour days. My boss was a sexist old codger, and told me from the start he didn't agree with part-time working.

Now they are at school age, I do 4 x 7 hours a week. I like being able to collect them from school and do homework, and still have a day at home to do things around the house.

Annualised hours on top of core hours are good - so I can juggle home and work demands as they arise.

I am fortunate that I can take annual leave during the summer holidays, but I am aware this can be a challenge for others.

Dealing with children who are sick is a challenge - I am fortunate that I can bring work home (although only in the short-term), although this isn't appropriate for all types of roles. Something to support parents in those circumstances would be good.

My point is that needs will change over time, and a flexible approach is useful.

My DH has just been granted working from home 1 day per week, which means he is able to collect the DC from school that day, thus allowing me to work later to get my desk cleared. This has helped our family life enormously, so it isn't just about offering it to women. In fact, I think this is probably a massive issue - helping Dads to help out, so the childcare arrangements isn't seen as only the woman's preserve.

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