FOR COMPANIES AND EMPLOYEES
May 17, 2021
A new kind of employment crisis is sweeping through the US right now. According to Wall Street Journal “between February 2020 and March 2021 nearly 1.1 million women of prime working age —between the ages of 25 and 54 — dropped out of the labor force, compared with 830,000 men in that age group“ (Feintzeig/Weber 2021). This development seems to be mostly due to women taking over the bigger parts of childcare responsibilities in many families. At the same time, many employers seem “unwilling to invest in women who left the workforce to care for their children” – thinking of them as ‘lost cases’ (ibid.). This kind of policy is far from smart. Science has long been pointing to the advantages working mothers can bring to any company, ranging from increased emotional intelligence to better multi-taskings skills (Barnwell 2016). As a result, both employers and employees can profit from the following empowering measures, making it easier for working moms to return to work after giving birth.
Measure 1: Offer paternity leave provisions
One reason that is causing a mass exodus of women from their career paths during the pandemic is that moms still shoulder the main burden of childcare. Enabling and encouraging working dads to take a paid leave may help to balance out these ongoing inequalities. If you feel insecure about the details of implementing paternity leave schemes, Kinderjahre is here to help.
Measure 2: Foster the creation of parent communities
Many working mothers might feel anxious after returning from an extended period of absence from the corporate world. Luckily, many working parents might have been in a similar situation before and could help with valuable knowledge on how to make the transition smoother (Lobell 2020). As an employer, you can foster vital processes of knowledge-sharing by actively bringing working parents within your enterprise together and providing for regular meetings during work times. Here, too, Kinderjahre can assist you with the itsy-bitsy details.
Measure 3: Making communication a top priority
Many managers feel insecure about the specific needs of mothers returning to the corporate world after a longer gap. Yet, a simple measure can help overcome this issue: regular communication. In doing so, “managers should continue to (or begin to) proactively ask employees what they need, how they feel, and if they feel comfortable in how they work” (Sumpter/Zanhour 2020).