The Modern Families Index highlighted the new normal of having both parents working full time and the challenges this presents. Attending the Working Families Policy Conference there was also talk about the forward thinking employers leading the way in valuing their employees and reaping the rewards.
The Working Policies Annual Modern Families Index has now been published. Some of the key data has been shared and it highlighted there has been a shift in the UK from one parent working and being the ‘breadwinner’, usually the male, and one parent being the ‘caregiver” using the female, to both parents having to juggle both roles full time. With difficulty.
The survey, sponsored by Bright Horizons shows that much of working parents’ annual leave is being used to cover childcare emergencies, at the detriment of time for family bonding and wellbeing. We need holidays to rest and recharge. Not crisis care manage.
Amongst younger parents, more equal sharing of work and care is happening in some households, although, according to Chief Executive of Working Families, Sarah Jackson “traditional gender roles around work and care remain powerful. Young fathers, in particular, have an appetite to be more involved with family life. Our findings show that, as things stand, these ‘millennials’ have high expectations of being able to achieve a good work-life balance – it remains to be seen whether they will really be any different to previous generations once they have experienced workplace culture.”
The report echoes much of the comments highlighted by Public policy expert Anne-Marie Slaughter as part of her now infamous Ted talk “Can we all ‘have it all’?” As Hilary Clinton’s former director of policy planning holding a top US government post she shared her personal story, claiming that “juggling high-level governmental work with the needs of two teenage boys was not possible” — and that she left her dream job to help her family.
Finding the balance is a personal once to a degree but employers can take the lead and set examples of best practice knowing that when their employees feel more supported, their performance is far more likely to increase and remain consistently strong.
Bumps and the Boardroom is launching a new campaign shortly which will highlight those companies who are leaders in supporting a personal and professional life for a win/win all-round. If you have examples of best practice you would like to share, particularly in relation to maternity and paternity policies please email firstname.lastname@example.org