ANZ recently announced a major new initiative to attract and retain top female talent by providing a childcare allowance of $4,000 for working parents.
Emma Walsh, Director of mums@work is delighted to see an Australian company moving closer towards the UK model, where many companies offer vouchers to subsidise the cost of childcare.
‘Australian employers need to step up to the standard set by companies overseas. Affordability of childcare is one of the key barriers our clients encounter when returning to a workplace.’
ANZ is an example of a large company realising the barriers to returning to work and coming up with a practical and attractive solution. While not all companies are in a position to offer financial incentives on the scale of those offered by ANZ, small businesses need not feel limited by their budget.
According to Emma, small to medium businesses should not underestimate their edge when it comes to negotiating a great package for working parents. ‘There are loads of solutions which smaller companies can use to attract parents.
‘Consider job shares, allowing flexible shifts, return to work coaching, offering the option of purchasing extra annual leave or creating a family room for children to visit after school.’
‘Lifestyle’ benefits can be just as enticing to parents as financial incentives. But for all companies, large or small, rather than trying to guess what will work for parents, Emma suggests that employers go direct to the source. ‘Ask mums and dads what they need first and design policies based on that feedback.’
Of course, while creative programmes will help retain and attract working parents, the case for family friendly flexible work initiatives is not just a ‘working mum’ issue. Employees of all ages seek improved flexible working conditions. Some people may need to structure work around caring for an aged person or person with a disability. Many retiring baby boomers wish to ‘wind down’ or ‘phase out’ of the workforce and Generation Y, the future workforce, vote work/life balance as a ‘must have’.
For more insights on offering flexible work solutions as a small business, click here.
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