4 Easy Ways Employers Can Support New Mothers In The Workplace
Here are four strategies, as highlighted by a Forbes article, that managers and employers can employ to alleviate the challenges faced by working mothers and extend their support:
1. Provide adequate pumping space.
Supporting breastfeeding in the workplace greatly benefits both mothers and businesses. Companies with lactation programs see a 94.2% retention rate, likely due to increased job satisfaction and morale. Legally, employers with 50 or more employees must provide a designated pumping space. Embracing this with a well-equipped, private area eases a mother's transition back to work and reduces pumping-related stress.
2. Encourage the community.
After maternity leave, many mothers feel pressured to revalidate their abilities. Studies indicate men are often judged on potential, while women on past achievements. To bridge this gap, introduce a group for parent-employees, promoting bonding and resource sharing. Encourage communal activities like daycare carpooling. Leading firms like Goldman Sachs and Google have started on-site daycare and health initiatives. Companies should guide employees in balancing work and parenthood. By addressing these challenges, firms enhance loyalty, acknowledging employees for their complete identity, not just work output.
3. Update your parental leave policy.
In recent years, U.S. paternity leave has extended to 6 weeks, but maternity leave lingers at 10 weeks—short compared to Europe's 20 weeks and Canada's 61. Considering over 21% of U.S. births are c-sections requiring six weeks recovery, the current leave offers little time for mothers to recuperate. Additionally, most infants' uninterrupted sleep starts around three months, making returning mothers prone to sleep deprivation and decreased decision-making capabilities. Companies like Netflix, Microsoft, and Google have recognized these challenges, enhancing their parental leave policies. Notably, Google's extension to 18 weeks halved the attrition rate of new mothers. Quick returns may have long-term organizational repercussions.
4. Have a plan to reintegrate the new mothers in your company.
Before leave ends, set a phased return plan and maintain check-ins.
Offer a 30-hour week for the initial few months, inspired by companies like Vodafone.
Host briefings on company updates missed during the absence.
Keep vital meetings within standard hours for flexibility.
By proactively aiding mothers' transitions, companies foster both immediate success and long-term positive impacts on future workforce generations.