Putting parents first: managing Moms and Dads in the workforce

Happy Father’s Day!

This Sunday, we’ll be taking the time to celebrate our dads at home – but how appreciated are we making them feel in the workplace? Apparently, not enough: in fact, the USA is one of only four countries in the world without a nationwide paid paternity leave policy.  

It’s a problem felt across the pond, too. Last year, we reported on the new legislation that would enable new UK parents to split maternal and paternal leave between them. Rather than leaving new mothers (literally) holding the baby while dads returned to work, the initiative allowed 50 weeks’ leave to be shared between both parents – a significant increase on the fortnight offered as standard to new fathers.

But just over a year down the line it seems Shared Parental Leave has not proven as popular as anticipated. Only 1 in 100 fathers in the UK are taking up the opportunity, with financial affordability, lack of awareness, and mothers’ unwillingness to see their own leave lessened among the key factors.

As such, the imbalance in men and womens’ ability to juggle their home and work lives persists. Take into account the “wage bonus” of 21% that working fathers over 42 receive, compared with the “wage penalty” of 11% experienced by working mothers of the same age, and the problem worsens.

Evidently, employers are still struggling to manage the progression of team members at different stages in their lives and careers, and having difficulty rewarding and recognizing them in ways that really matter.

In the US, the complexity of FMLA regulations makes compliance with paternity leave legislation particularly difficult to manage for both employers and employees. In fact, only 14% of employers even offer paid paternity leave, while 21% fail even to provide the mandated amount of unpaid leave.

Adequately managing fathers in the workplace still remains a mystery for many employers, then. Without the knowledge of an employee’s status, their hours worked, their entitlement and other data, it’s virtually impossible to ensure compliance; perhaps more importantly, not knowing what employees want and need to balance their families and careers can have a devastating effect on both.

This is where technology is vital. A comprehensive HR management system can track all the data required to juggle complex and varying requirements, giving the thorough insight into employees that’s vital to keep them engaged, productive and compliant in the workplace.  Using predictive analytics too, it’s possible to predict where a business might be faced with uneven resource, and plan accordingly.

With the right tools in place, employees’ needs can be addressed and properly catered to. Rather than offering badly balanced financial bonuses or time off that can’t be used, help your employees achieve a happy home life this Father’s Day. You might find it’ll result in a happy work life and better business too.

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