Blog > How to Implement Family Friendly Policies

How to Implement Family Friendly Policies

Aside from the positive impact they have on individual employees, there is a strong business case for family-friendly policies. They improve retention, recruitment, and productivity, amongst other KPIs. In this article, we put forward ideas for family-friendly policies you can implement in the workplace.

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Written by Apricity Team
family friendly policies

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    In today's dynamic work landscape, fostering a family-friendly environment isn't just a corporate nicety - it's a strategic imperative. As an employer, embracing family-friendly policies not only demonstrates a commitment to the wellbeing of employees but also cultivates a more engaged, loyal workforce. Ultimately, recognising the diverse needs of modern families by implementing family-friendly policies isn't just altruistic; it's smart business.

    In this article, we explore a range of family-friendly policies that revolve around offering practical, emotional and financial solutions to support employees in balancing their professional responsibilities with their lives outside of the workplace. 

    Family-friendly policies to implement in your workplace

    There is no one standout family-friendly policy that will work for every business or every employee. Instead, you should develop a bespoke policy following a deep-dive assessment of the needs of your workforce and implement a variety of family-friendly initiatives that cater to them. Examples of family-friendly policies include:

    Fertility benefits

    In the UK, more than 3.5 million people experience some form of fertility challenge and this can adversely impact the mental health of those affected. In addition, almost 9 in 10 employees say their productivity at work is strongly impacted by their fertility challenges, 35% of people take annual leave, sick leave or unpaid leave to cope with the emotional and physical toll of treatment and 16% of people with fertility challenges end up leaving their job altogether.

    Although advancements in technology now mean that there is a range of fertility treatments available such as IVF and IUI, these are inaccessible or unaffordable for many. Offering coverage for fertility treatments, consultations, and support services acknowledges and supports employees navigating fertility challenges and helps them overcome barriers to accessing care. There are fertility specialists, such as Apricity, who work with employers to implement inclusive and cost-transparent fertility benefits.

    happy family with a baby apricity family

    Flexible working hours

    A study of UK businesses and employees by HSBC found that 89% of employees believe that flexible working is the biggest influence on their productivity levels within the workplace. Further, a separate poll found that 88% of working parents would be interested in more part-time or flexible working arrangements.

    Allowing employees to adjust their work schedules to accommodate family commitments promotes a better work-life balance and gives them autonomy to manage their responsibilities in the best way for them. For example, permitting flexible scheduling during school holidays can help ease childcare challenges for working parents. The Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations, which came into effect on the 6th of April 2024, gives employees the statutory right to request flexible working arrangements from day one of their employment. They can make two requests per year without any requirement to explain why they are seeking flexible working. As an employer, you are obligated to respond to their request within two months and engage in a consultation with the employee should you decline.

    Remote and hybrid work options

    Many people saw their roles become remote at the height of Covid-19. However, post-pandemic, 61% of parents still want to work remotely full time and 37% desire a hybrid working arrangement.

    Allowing employees to work remotely gives them flexibility and can help alleviate concerns that working parents have about being in a physical workplace location including finding childcare, reduced work-life balance, and office distractions.

    Paid parental leave

    In the UK, statutory maternity pay is paid for up to 39 weeks and although employees on maternity leave receive 90% of their average weekly earnings for the first six weeks, this falls to £172.48 for the remainder of their leave. Statutory paternity pay is given for just two weeks and also equates to £172.48 per week.

    Offering generous parental leave benefits to new parents above and beyond their statutory entitlement can help support bonding time and ease their transition back to work as well as reduce the financial worries that many employees say they feel when on maternity leave.

    On-site childcare facilities

    A lack of affordable childcare is a significant issue for parents and businesses. According to Save the Children, a lack of affordable childcare prevents UK mums from working, resulting in them losing earnings totalling £1.2 billion a year. Two million women have left the labour force since 2020, with more than a quarter citing a lack of reliable and affordable childcare as the main reason. Providing childcare services at or near the workplace can ease the burden on working parents and avoid them having to choose between childcare and employment.

    Breastfeeding support

    Some studies suggest that employment practices can adversely impact breastfeeding durations. For example, The UK National Infant Feeding Survey found that almost a fifth of those who stopped breastfeeding by four months said this was a result of needing to return to work. Establishing dedicated lactation rooms and breastfeeding support programs for new parents returning to work can allow them to continue breastfeeding for as long as they wish to, improving outcomes for them and their children.

    Eldercare assistance

    By default, family-friendly policies often seek to help working parents. However, other family structures are also in need of support. Research suggests that 21% of UK workers are part of the sandwich generation, caring for young children and elderly parents or relatives. Of this group of employees, more than a third say their situation affects their mental health and 29% experience financial strain. Moreover, 20% feel they are less productive at work and 16% reveal their caring responsibilities have resulted in them taking time off sick.

    Offering resources and guidance for employees caring for ageing family members, such as on-demand care, mental health support, and signposting to other assistance can help alleviate stress, reduce the chance of burnout, and enhance employee wellbeing.

    family kissing while working

    Adoption assistance

    Providing emotional, practical, and financial assistance including paid leave for employees adopting children ensures you are supporting diverse family structures and the different paths employees take to parenthood.

    Not all heterosexual couples can or want to have biological children. In addition, many single individuals, and non-heterosexual couples also go through the adoption process to expand their families. According to statistics, during the year ending March 2021, 11% of children were adopted by single people and 16% were adopted by same-sex couples.

    Adoption assistance for employees can take many formats including vetted adoption networks, workshops, flexible working to allow for meetings, home visits and adoption panels, and access to paediatric specialists.

    Backup childcare

    Childcare is a pressing issue for working parents. On average, parents can now expect to pay £7,000 per year for a part-time nursery place for one child. However, daycare low staffing, layoffs and closures cause additional stress for parents. In addition, the high costs lead to many working parents relying on extended family for childcare, with 16% needing this support every day of the week but this can cause problems should members of their support network fall ill or their circumstances change.

    Partnering with childcare agencies to offer backup care options could be invaluable for employees when regular arrangements fall through and enable them to work rather than having to take unpaid time off.

    Parental support groups

    39% of working parents with children under the age of 18 say they’d like mental health support in the workplace and 56% of parents with children under five feel lonely. Employee assistance programmes and access to counselling services can certainly help but parent-specific resources acknowledge the unique challenges and emotions faced by parents. For example, you could facilitate peer support groups for parents within your organisation, providing a forum for sharing experiences and coping strategies, cultivating a sense of camaraderie and creating a culture based on mutual understanding.

    Fertility benefits as a family-friendly policy

    By embracing family-friendly policies like those we have looked at above, you can not only retain your most talented employees, but you can also foster a workplace that values and supports employees at every stage of their family journey and caters to their changing needs.

    For example, fertility benefits are wanted by 61% of employees, yet only 17% of UK employers offer them. Apricity can help you close this gap by implementing our innovative online fertility clinic as an employee benefit. We provide your employees with end-to-end support and treatment from our in-house doctors and nurses, with as much of their care as possible taking place online from the comfort of their own homes. This virtual approach reduces stress and presenteeism while improving success rates, resulting in better overall outcomes for your employees and your business. For more information, get in touch with our corporate team today.


    Written by Apricity Team

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