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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Moloney

What to consider when looking for family friendly employers

Finding employers that offer a family friendly culture is becoming more important for many people. A number of working parents struggle to manage both work and family commitments, and the relentless juggle can create a lot of stress for families. There has definitely been a shift in the world of work, with the desire for individuals to maintain a greater work-life balance. There are a number of benefits for both employees and organisations that offer a family friendly workplace, as well as positive knock-on effects for society as a whole.

If looking for a workplace that offers better family friendly practices is important to you, these may be some of the areas you should consider in your research:

Paid parental leave

Having access to paid parental leave for both mothers and fathers can be an absolute game changer for families, and make a significant difference to the whole experience of taking parental leave. If company paid parental leave is available on top of the Australian Government’s paid parental leave scheme and legislated unpaid parental leave entitlements, it can relieve a lot of pressure on families, as well as create a healthy balance of sharing the load of primary carer responsibilities and leave timeframes. Win-win I say!

Organisations that value employees taking parental leave

Taking parental leave can be a significant life and work transition, and knowing that your employer fully supports you during this transition creates a more positive experience. Look out for practices like supportive workplace policies and processes for the lead up to parental leave, communication whilst on parental leave, and support during the transition back to work. An organisation that promotes open and positive communication around parental leave and support for working parents returning to work, reinforces the value they place in their employees, and their commitment to creating a family friendly culture.

Flexible work practices

There are lots of different ways that organisations can offer flexible work practices, and by having the ability to alter the way you work to make it more conducive to your family commitments, allows you to thrive both at work and home. You may have the option to work part-time, or alter your working hours. You may have the option to work remotely or take up a hybrid model of sharing time between remote work and time in the office. Progressive organisations understand the benefits that offering more flexible work practices can have in attracting and retaining staff, productivity levels, and maintaining motivated and engaged employees.

Supportive employers

It’s also important to understand the various types of support that organisations offer their employees to thrive. A good example is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which is a confidential counselling and support service that is offered by many organisations to support employee well-being in the workplace and in their personal lives. I also encourage you to try to identify if an organisation promotes positive open communication and effective channels to maintain this, which also indicates a more supportive employer. It’s a positive sign when organisations promote their commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Workplace certifications

Some organisations choose to become certified as ‘family inclusive workplaces’ or endorsed as an employer of choice for gender equality, and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. When organisations commit to this type of endorsement or certification, you can be encouraged that they maintain best practice processes to provide a family friendly workplace culture. Some of the certifications or endorsements you may like to look out for when exploring potential employers include the Family Friendly Workplace Certification, Employer of Choice for Gender Equality, and Work 180 Endorsed Employers.

Organisations that offer family friendly work practices are more likely to attract and better retain employees, and be recognised as an employer of choice. Both work and life roles have responsibilities that need to be prioritised, and it can create much stress in juggling this. Individuals are searching for employers who recognise this, and provide an element of care as not just you as their employee, but helping you to best thrive in life. The positives are not just felt at the individual level, they also carry through to organisational and economic benefits.


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