Topic 2 Strategies for Parenthood and for the Improvement of Work Life Balance

Source: EIGE

The main strategies for reconciliation and parenthood focus on:

  • Flexible working for employees: from standard part-time working to compressed hours, term-time working, job share, annualised hours, mobile working and working from home
  • Training and guidance on parental leave policies and procedures for HR departments. Clarification on rights and responsibilities regarding workplace adjustments following parental leave
  • Support: improving maternity provisions (relief funds), transition to full workload and specific support for employees after returning from maternity leave
  • Institutional campaigns for changing attitudes about women’s and men’s roles in the family
  • Campaigns to normalise and support same-sex couples to reduce discrimination

These strategies can target specific groups when necessary for example, women, men, non-binary folk and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

CASE STUDY: B3- The UK Government Equalities Office example of Flexible Working to Support Parents

“Increasing numbers of staff were becoming parents, and we wanted to make sure they were able to return to work on a flexible arrangement and continue to progress their careers. In addition, as an employer that supports and recruits from the local community, we wanted to support parents wishing to balance home and employment and other commitments, and to benefit from this part of the labour market.

  • Action taken

We launched a flexible working policy that enabled all staff to apply to work flexibly and advertised all vacancies as being open to flexible working. We also set up a “flexible workers” network group which is led by our Chief Executive, to address any concerns and to ensure we are inclusive”. 

CASE STUDY: The International Labour Office’s example of Sexual Harassment in the workplace

Retrieved from Think, Act, Report, Government Equalities Office, UK

“Broadly speaking, sexual harassment in the workplace includes any unwelcomed sexual advances or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, acceptance of which is explicitly or implicitly made a condition for favourable decisions affecting one’s employment, or which has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, abusive or offensive working environment.”

Sexual harassment may consist of:

  • Insults, remarks, jokes and insinuations of a sexual nature and inappropriate comments on a person’s dress, physique, age or family situation
  • Undesired and unnecessary physical contact such as touching, caresses, pinching or assault
  • Embarrassing remarks and other verbal harassment
  • Lascivious looks and gestures associated with sexuality
  • Compromising invitations
  • Requests or demands for sexual favours
  • Explicit or implied threats of dismissal, refusal of promotion, etc. if sexual favours are not granted

ABC of women workers’ rights and gender equality. ILO, 2007.

Sexual harassment is a potential threat not only to workers but also to enterprises.

As well as the protection against sexual harassment accorded in many countries under the constitution and/or specific legislation, organisations are in the best position to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

Some tips to prevent sexual harassment:

  • Develop an effective anti-harassment policy
  • Engage the staff and raise awareness about what harassment means, the policy of the organisation, how it can be reported and the consequences of breaching the policy
  • Assess and monitor working conditions to reduce risk and early detection
  • Set a reporting system that allows workers to raise an issue either anonymously or named
  • Set a monitoring system that ensures complaints are adequately addressed or solved.
  • Provide training to staff when necessary

Among the online resources available, we recommend the detailed explanation on this guide from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, UK.

Source: Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash