Large companies like Netflix and Google have been finding major success with the implementation of pro-mom workplace policies. Granted, you may not be a multi-million dollar company that can implement expensive pro-mom workplace policies. But you do have the potential to create and foster a pro-mom workplace.
If you are like most companies, you probably have multiple female employees. And if these women are like most women, many of them are already moms or would love to be one someday, but are unsure of how this would affect their careers.
That’s why it’s incredibly important for your company to figure out how to help these women be the best employee and mother that they can be.
Why Your Company Needs Pro-Mom Policies
There is a FALSE stigma surrounding working moms that says that these women are less interested in their careers, bad workers, or use their pregnancies to take advantage of paid time off. These stigmas are not only false, but also extremely offensive and demeaning to working moms.
Statistics have shown that providing pro-mom policies, like maternity leave, improve the workplace. In fact, these policies improve worker retention and allow small businesses to compete with larger ones during the hiring process.
77% of potential employees state that a company’s maternity leave impacts their choice of whether to work there or not.
Additionally, these policies increase worker productivity and loyalty. According to a study done by Deloitte, 77% of potential employees state that a company’s maternity leave impacts their choice of whether to work there or not. This means that your company could be missing out on great talent by not offering pro-mom workplace policies.
What are the Costs?
It can be assumed that implementing pro-mom policies in your workplace will cost money. While this may be the case, especially when it comes to maternity leave, studies have shown that providing maternity leave actually saves a company money through reduced turnover costs. Thus, many have suggested that offering maternity leave is the more cost effective option compared to hiring a permanent replacement. Former HR boss at Google, Laszlo Bock shared:
“When we eventually did the math, it turned out this program cost nothing. The cost of having a mom out of the office for an extra couple of months was more than offset by the value of retaining her expertise and avoiding the cost of finding and training a new hire.”
To learn more about what the cost would be to implement maternity leave for your company, you can use this maternity leave calculator.
In addition to maternity leave, there are multiple other pro-mom policies that your company should consider implementing. These pro-mom policies have been proven to positively impact businesses and working mothers. Below are six practical and doable pro-mom workplace policies that your company should consider implementing.
Flextime is a form of flexible scheduling that allows employees to choose their work hours. Offering a flextime benefit not only increases employee productivity, but it also has cost benefits. In a study conducted by Motherhood in America where researchers looked at the reasons new moms quit their jobs, they found that 43% of women who left their job may have stayed in the workforce if an employer provided flexible scheduling.
43% of women who left their job may have stayed in the workforce if an employer provided flexible scheduling.
Breastfeeding can be uncomfortable, especially if you don’t have an adequate space to do so. Unfortunately, even if companies do provide a room for women to breastfeed or pump, they often cut their pay for the time spent doing so. One woman states, “Others get smoke breaks without having to punch out, and when I had to pump once a day, they made me clock out.”
Supporting moms in the workplace begins with accommodating their needs when it comes to breastfeeding and pumping. Providing a private and comfortable room designated for breastfeeding or pumping is not only required by law, but it is a benefit that most new moms desire. Studies show that 77% of women wanted better support for breastfeeding.
77% of women want better support for breastfeeding.
Paid Maternity Leave
Paid Maternity leave is one benefit that most women desire, but not enough companies offer. According to the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers, 93% of mothers who have access to paid maternity leave are more likely to keep working after they had children.
Offering paid maternity leave also increased worker productivity, loyalty, and morale.
Additionally, 91% of businesses stated that offering paid maternity leave didn’t dent their company’s productivity. Offering paid maternity leave also increased worker productivity, loyalty, and morale.
A fancy word to describe those who work remotely, telecommuting is an option companies can provide to their employees that saves billions and has a much lower employee turnover rate. In fact, employers who offer a telecommuting option saved over $11,000 per telecommuting employee because of money saved on facilities, utilities and travel.
Apart from saving money, offering employees a remote work option brings in talented working moms. Having the option to work from home means that moms can work their job and take care of their children at the same time. Gene Marks, small business expert states:
“If you can’t afford a generous paid time off policy for new parents like IBM or Netflix, at least give your employees the technology and the flexibility to do some work from home, so they can ease back into the job. Believe it or not, many new parents do want to come back to work — not just for financial reasons but for sanity! Allowing them to work from home helps with this transition.”
Providing a childcare benefit to employees has been proven to improve morale, reduce employee turnover rate and absenteeism, as well as increase worker productivity. Additionally, a childcare benefit is great incentive for recruitment. According to Simmons College, 93% of parents cite work-site childcare as an important factor in job change.
If on-site childcare isn’t something your business can do, many companies have begun to offer back-up childcare. Back-up childcare ensures that your employees have somewhere to bring their child if their normal childcare plans fall through. Companies often partner with local daycare centers like KinderCare Learning Centers or Bright Horizons Child Care Centers, for this type of back-up childcare. Parents who have access to on-site childcare or back-up childcare feel more at ease and in-turn are more productive.
The final pro-mom workplace “policy” to implement is a pregnancy friendly workplace. Train your employees and management team on what pregnancy discrimination is and learn the ways in which you can accommodate an employee during her pregnancy. Foster a workplace environment that supports and encourages motherhood! You can find out more on how to create a pregnancy friendly workplace here.
As a business owner, you may still be on the fence about implementing these pro-mom workplace policies. But, here are four companies who have had major success by implementing pro-mom workplace policies:
“Starting out, our organization was so small we didn’t have a formal procedure on the books. But we’d heard about other small companies facing problems because they lacked parental leave policies. So, once our staff reached 10 to 15 people—and two of them became pregnant around the same time—we began developing the parental leave policy we have in place now, which offers new parents a total of up to eight weeks of paid leave and an additional four unpaid.
Since then, it’s improved retention and landed us recognition as one of the best places for women to work. It also taught us more about growing and training all of our employees, not just those on leave. Adopting a robust parental leave policy taught us a lot about how to delegate responsibility to all our employees.” – Robert Glazer, Founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners
“Having reliable access to backup care does more than save a parent in a pinch. If employees don’t have to fixate on emergency care, companies help boost workers’ productivity and focus at work. Backup child-care benefits are one way companies show an investment in their workforces.” – Sheila Lirio Marcelo, founder, chairwoman and chief executive of Care.com
“It may sound counterintuitive, but the research—and Google’s own experience—shows a generous paid maternity leave actually increases retention. When women are given a short leave, or they’re pressured to be on call, some decide it’s just not worth it to return. That’s why, when Google increased its paid maternity leave policy from 12-to-18 weeks, we saw the rate at which new mothers quit fall by 50 percent.” – Susan Wojcicki, CEO of Youtube
“By allowing employees to work remotely, you can hire the best of the best while not limiting yourself by geographical restrictions. At Doubledot Media, 19 of our 28 employees work remotely, and I have seen no difference in job satisfaction or work performance. If anything, my remote employees’ production rate is higher because they are better equipped to avoid distractions.” – Simon Slade, CEO and co-founder of Doubledot Media
Having a healthy company culture is one of the most important aspects to a successful business and having pro-mom policies is part of this. Cultivating a culture that values working mothers will ensure that your business is successful, productive, and supportive of those who contribute the most to your company!
Riley Akre is the Assistant Producer at Voices for the Voiceless, the movement to create a world where every person is valued and no one faces unplanned pregnancy alone. If you have any questions, you can reach Riley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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