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Tell CBI what you think employers could do for parents to make it easier to balance work and family life? £250 voucher to be won!NOW CLOSED

(307 Posts)
MichelleMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 10-Nov-14 12:38:05

As part of The Great Business Debate campaign, The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) have asked us to find out what Mumsnetters think employers could do better to make it easier for parents to balance work and family life.

Here’s what CBI say, “The Great Business Debate is a CBI led campaign to help build public confidence in business.

"Only around half of people believe business makes a positive contribution to society and we want to play a part in increasing that figure. We are doing this by:
•Setting out the facts and combatting myths about what business does and the contribution it makes
•Encouraging people to give us their views on business and where it needs to do more
•Providing an opportunity for business to take part in a constructive conversation about what it does and how it does it

"As employees, our experiences of working life have a big impact on our view of business. Companies of all sizes rely on their people for success, and want to make use of the best talents available. But there is an ongoing debate about whether employers are doing enough to ensure parents – and especially mums – are supported to balance their family and work life, without having to sacrifice one for the other. We're sponsoring this discussion with Mumsnetters to hear your views.”

So, what do you think employers could do to make it easier for parents returning to work to find a balance between family life and work? Maybe you’d like more employers to encourage flexible working hours? Or perhaps to prioritise parents when employees request to have annual leave during school holidays? Whatever it is, we’d love to hear it!

Everyone who comments on this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one Mumsnetter will win a £250 Love2Shop voucher.

CBI are also hosting a round table event on this topic on Wednesday 26th November in Central London, which will be attended by business leaders and not-for-profit organisations, as well as Justine, our CEO. There are two places reserved for Mumsnetters also. If you’d be interested in attending then please PM me, we will then select two Mumsnetters at random.

Please note: Please be aware your anonymised comments may be re-used by the CBI on their websites, over social media and for broader PR purposes.

Thanks and good luck

MaryWestmacott Mon 10-Nov-14 14:50:19

I think there's far too much emphasis on getting mothers back to work and finding ways to make female employment flexible, whereas n my experience, the woman who have been able to juggle work and family life well have a DH/P who has also being doing half the juggling.

I was only able to return to work after having DC1 because DH could move his hours to 8-4 from 9-5 in order to do the nursery pick up (DH often had to work in the evenings - but could work from home, so just said 4pm - 6:30pm he couldn't do anything, was free from 6:30pm/7pm to do any conference calls/additional work - that's when I returned home to take over).

His employer was fine with it (it actually suited them as DH was in a support role and they could do with ensuring someone was in for 8am anyway), although said they weren't used to getting requests from men.

If DH hadn't been able to do this,we wouldn't be able to use a nursery for care for DC1 and would have to looked at nannies - costing far more and wiping out my wage meaning I wouldn't be able to return to work.

I guess making sure employers don't just focus on woman but also men.

TooManyNames Mon 10-Nov-14 15:33:49

A combination of factors, but the biggest one for me has been 'trust'. Trusting me to work from home - WFH has changed my life.

My DS still goes to nursery on my WFH days (obviously) but working from home means I get an hour at lunchtime to do household chores - and 2 extra hours to be with my DS - when I would normally be travelling to and from work.

In addition, my concentration is much better as I am not getting constantly interrupted. These are very productive, happy days.

I feel very lucky to be trusted to WFH - it has changed my life and makes me so much happier when I am in the office.

CMOTDibbler Mon 10-Nov-14 20:54:37

I think trusting your employees to come up with solutions that help them balance their lives is key - its not just parents that can benefit.
The company I work for is not very family friendly (and the US lot don't help this at all), but we do have flexi time in a limited way - core hours of 10-4 (facility is open 7-7), but on a Friday you can leave at 12 if you've done your hours. And that half day has made a massive difference in my work life balance. Others like to come in later and work later or some take a long lunch to go to the gym etc

My advice would be don't just think of things to make parents happy, think about making your employees happy in general

NettleTea Mon 10-Nov-14 21:15:30

Flexible time, and for society and the workplace to not assume that childcare is the sole responsibility of the mother!
Also the opportunity to work from home if its a job which would allow that.

missorinoco Mon 10-Nov-14 21:19:17

Flexibility with hours, for all employees or resentment builds up. Where possible the option to work from home at relatively shory notice, e.g for a strike day, or when a child is unwell.

unadulterateddad Mon 10-Nov-14 21:58:49

Open up more roles to working from home, the ability to flex hours into packets around the time that DC is awake is invaluable. I don't mind working from 8-10pm when I've been able to stop working at 4pm to go and do collection from school and then spend time together. The fact that my employer is happy for me to do this means they get a more motivated (and less likely to leave) member of staff.

StainlessSteelCat Tue 11-Nov-14 12:18:53

Flexibility and trust. Being open about what is expected from the employee in terms of mandatory attendance, and giving sufficient advance notice so the employee can arrange childcare or whatever is needed for them to cover their responsibilities at home. Allowing employees to come up with solutions that work for them and the business.

This is from the perspective of a teacher who has to work around a partner who has to occasionally travel with work, and three DC to get to and from school. Day to day, he does the mornings, I do the evenings, but this has to adapt if I have parents evening or he has to work away. His work is pretty flexible, allowing WFH, teleconferencing. Mine has varied drastically from school to school, and I have found that the main advantage of supply is that I can say I just can't work certain days rather than relying on having an understanding head teacher.

And strongly agree that this is not just about parents in the workplace, everyone needs a work life balance. Trusted employees feel more valued and I believe that benefits the employee as well as the employee. As well as needing to come from the highest level of the organisation, this belief has to be shared by all the individual managers. And this can be the stumbling block in real life - whether it comes down to training or personality, some managers do this brilliantly, others seem to be inflexible for no good reason.

lucidlady Tue 11-Nov-14 12:22:08

I work in professional services and have to complete a timesheet every day. If I do more than my standard 8 hours in one day, I'm not allowed to carry it forward to the next day but rather am expected to do another 8 hours that day. oMaking employers offer compressed hours or allow employees to flex their hours on a daily basis within reason would really help.

iwantavuvezela Tue 11-Nov-14 12:34:51

To allow for staff to apply for flexitime. To make this process seem fair and that you wont be stigmatized if you do apply for flexi time, taking the fear out of the process of negotiating change (I also understand that the employer may say no, but when speaking to otherp arents, sometimes it feels like its best not to ask, and just make it work!
To also realize that childcare changes over the years, and to perhaps have some allowances for this. To be able to take off the odd morning or day to attend the nativity play, or to go and see your child during school hours doing something.
I no longer have a baby, and my needs were much more then the need for flexible part time work (which I negotiated). now, that my child is 7 I need some opportunity to change working hours, but this is much less.

The ability to work from home when needed.

trikken Tue 11-Nov-14 12:35:47

Flexible working times obviously, holidays in half term and other holidays. Just planning things in suitable times eg give notification a good while before meetings so childcare can be planned.

Nouseforausername Tue 11-Nov-14 12:37:20

I'd really like subsidised childcare especially in a big business as by being part time in my position I'm not eligible for childcare vouchers

InAndOfMyself Tue 11-Nov-14 12:39:57

As an employee I am extremely loyal when the company treats me well, when they do the absolute minimum required by law I don't feel I have to do the extra for them either.

I would have appreciated my employer more if they had topped up my salary during maternity leave, if they have let me use the KIT days to make me feel part of team whilst on maternity leave, and if they had considered my request for flex time instead of rubber stamping NO on it.

lpbarton Tue 11-Nov-14 12:49:15

Work better to ensure working from home is a viable option. Also allow time off for school plays and sports day. OH's last company allowed the time off as long as time was made up over the following month. Extra half hour a day (normally a shortened lunch break) even from home means that he never missed a play, assembly or sports day. They also helped run a big creche over the summer hols where parents could spend lunch time with their kids on site and the rest of the time the kids have fun!

marymouse Tue 11-Nov-14 12:51:14

If my employers had really considered my flexible working request rather than just a flat no. Or if we could have come up with a compromise.
I use all my annual leave on childcare, so increasing my annual leave would help greatly. Also having understanding managers who don't berate or think less of you when you choose to be with your child when their ill.

Inzidoodle Tue 11-Nov-14 12:51:29

Flexible working hours. My husband starts earlier and works later than contracted to do because it's just expected. I can never rely on him to be home at a set time every night so evening jobs are useless and his starting time is before the school run so I can't take an early morning job. I would love to be out making some extra money but with no childcare help it's impossible.

dalekanium Tue 11-Nov-14 12:55:02

As an employee I am extremely loyal when the company treats me well, when they do the absolute minimum required by law I don't feel I have to do the extra for them either


I think making the assumption BOTH sexes will want to work flexibly, and making it happen.

Staff will be far more loyal and far more likely to go the extra mile if flexible working and WFH requests were approved as a matter of course unless there were exceptional reasons not to rather than the reverse.

Cambam2010 Tue 11-Nov-14 13:06:24

Flexible working needs to be considered for more than just parents. I am the only female parent in my small office but my other female colleagues have other family issues that they could cope better with if they could have flexible working - one has elderly parents, another has a DH with MND.

Employers need to think beyond the typical office hours of 9-5 and offer flexibility that suits everyone without compromising business.

ShowMeTheWonder Tue 11-Nov-14 13:10:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

moonbells Tue 11-Nov-14 13:22:15

More accepted and encouraged flexitime here too.

A lot of folk where I am don't like the concept of flexitime unless of course it's flexible how late you stay after doing your core hours...

After well over 10 years of working a minimum of 8-4 and often 8-6, I then had DC and switched to a fixed 8-4.30 for the nursery years and now 8-4 due to school dropoff and pickup (I always need to use breakfast and late clubs!) I find it highly irksome that some people now snipe that I'm not serious about my career.

I'd love DH to be able to help, but he has to climb on a train to the smoke at 7am and isn't back until early evening, so he simply can't. So all childcare/pickups/clubs of course falls on me.

I wish employers would encourage the Dads to leave on time, or give them enough time off in lieu to get to things. I get exhausted by all the running about, and working f/t, and I've only got one DC! Heaven help those with more...

wavesandsmiles Tue 11-Nov-14 13:25:47

I think many parents find it more difficult to return to work after a lengthier period of maternity/parental leave. I (largely for financial reasons as a newly single mother) returned when DS2 was 4.5 months old. My job requires travel on a regular basis, often overseas, so my employer has been hugely supportive by covering the costs for a friend to travel with me and DS2 in order that we can maintain breastfeeding. He's now 15 months and we are still going strong, and it made the return to work much easier and also inspired me to go the extra mile for my employer as well!

Littlehomebird Tue 11-Nov-14 14:20:05

Some companies exploit their workers and this needs to be addressed. My husband is salaried for 39 hours a week but sometimes works 45 hours , the overtime is unpaid and is not by choice- the shift rota is done at head office. This is very unfair. It puts extra pressure on the household & as I work 2 jobs this means there has not been a family holiday for several years.

ouryve Tue 11-Nov-14 14:34:03

Flexible working and the ability to work from home, once in a while, make a lot of difference. Both of the boys have SN and usually need 2 adults with them for appointments, so for DH, it's useful to be able to finish a bit earlier one day and then make it up the next. He can't currently work from home, as he's very new in his job and not through his probationary period, yet. That was really useful in the summer holidays, as it meant I could take one of the boys out, occasionally, giving them some decent respite from each other.

Cherrypi Tue 11-Nov-14 14:39:03

Longer and better paid paternity leave for Dads. Stop making everything a Mum issue.

Macey78 Tue 11-Nov-14 14:45:26

I work for a local authority and have found flexible working requests are pretty much frowned upon although no one will openly say so. To make my life easy term time working would be great. I would be quite happy to forego any annual leave I have. I asked to work 3 days in April currently work 4 and am still waiting for a response!

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