This is October’s National Work & Family Month here in the United States. Affirmed by Congress in 2003 with unanimous consent. On the positive side this social awareness month is meant to:
- remind employers of the importance of creating equitable practices that enable healthy work-life experiences,
- spotlight challenges preventing families- especially working mothers- from purposeful career growth,
- and remind companies why they must include caregivers in their diversity and inclusion investments.
Khuner asked to temporarily work part-time at Facebook while her baby was young, and quit when Human Resources said no. Hence, she left Facebook permanently because, despite her loyalty, her organization wouldn’t support a short-term work adjustment.
Khuner also stated that for every parent who protests, there are many more who suffer silently because they can’t afford to lose their job or cut their hours.
Sarah Johal is a working mother and brand marketing professional. She has experience advocating for parent-friendly employee programs and policies within high-profile tech organizations. In addition, Johal is a thought leader on this topic, currently writing her first business book. More importantly, she focuses on exploring how motherhood bias is slowing down our global economy and innovation.
Below she discusses what can employers do to take action in October:
Add Caregivers to Inclusion Objectives and Key Results
Chief Human Resource Officers and Chief Diversity Officers are leaving caregivers off their radar. While the motherhood penalty women face in the workforce continues to be the leading contributor to the gender pay gap.
We must stretch beyond gender, ethnicity, and/or sexual orientation to measure holistic inclusion. Employees can opt-in to add women with dependents or caregiving identifiers, within federal EEO-1 diversity reporting for May 2020 submission.’
Offer Equal Family Care and Sick Time Coverage
Despite companies claiming to be competitive with employee perks, caregiving benefits are still an afterthought.
So, We must embrace 24-weeks minimum fully paid parental leave policies and encourage employees to actually take that time off, to shorten the gender pay gap. We must also embrace equal paid sick time, and family leaves coverage for all chosen family experiences.
Educate and Train Management
Businesses need to train management on terminology and bias within micro-moments. Like the not-so-hidden biases that caregivers can experience during interviews, onboarding, in the office, traveling for work, and returning from leave.
The Future of Work Spells F-L-E-X-I-B-L-E
While machine learning and automation surround the future of work, so must flexible paths towards economic mobility. Teams who are enabling flexible scheduling needs and preferred physical locations are ahead of the game.
Also, to honor this month, Johal suggests employers should host month-long employee events including virtual speaker series, career workshops, and book giveaways that introduce topics of inclusion to kids and teens.
Working parents and family caregivers feel some of the least amount of belonging in the workplace, and it’s difficult to measure their impact in the workplace because caregivers aren’t part of most inclusion strategies, nor are they part of federal diversity reporting requirements.
Lastly, Johal invites organizations to spark a conversation about ‘National Work & Family Month’ with their teammates, no matter how big or small the effort.