Returning to Work After Parenthood

The Role of Employer Support in Parents' Return to Work

Rob Palmer

Facilitating Parents' Return to Work: Strategies for Employer Support.

Navigating the transition back to work after becoming a parent can be a daunting prospect for many employees. Did you know that 51% of working parents report that school schedules often interfere with their jobs?

Work after becoming a parent
Work after becoming a parent

This article aims to explore how employers can play an active role in easing this transition, offering solutions like flexible scheduling or backup child care, and outlining why these supports are beneficial not just for the employees but also for business productivity.

Let's dive into how workplace support holds the key to successful return-to-work journeys for parents!

The Challenges Faced by Returning Parents

Returning parents face challenges such as the limited availability of maternity and paternity leave, lack of childcare support, and the need for flexible work arrangements.

Maternity and Paternity Leave

Both moms and dads need time off when a new baby comes. In the US, moms get 12 weeks off but in the UK, they get one year. Dads too need leave but often don't take it. This can cause stress for both parents at home and work.

Companies should make their leave rules clear so everyone knows what to do. Some brave companies have started sharing their own rules to help others do the same. This makes parents feel more at ease about going back to work after having a baby.

Childcare Support

Childcare support is very important for working parents. Parents often need to leave work early because most schools end between 3 and 4 p.m. This makes it hard to balance family responsibilities and job duties.

An employer can help by giving backup child care benefits all year round. This takes out worry if an emergency happens and a parent needs quick childcare help. Workers who have this support work six additional days per year.

Employers may also help parents find the right childcare or guide them on how to care for older people in their families. This kind of care support lets workers do better at their jobs which is great for companies too!

Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible work arrangements help working parents a lot. They can pick kids up from school or be at home to care for them. It also helps when they can't leave the house, like during COVID-19.

This way, parents don't have to worry about missing work or losing their jobs. Many even find they get more done when they can plan their own time. These plans should include remote work and flexible hours whenever possible.

How Employers Can Support Returning Parents

Employers can support returning parents by offering transparent family leave policies, recognizing parenting as work, accommodating flexible schedules, providing support resources, promoting wellness and wellbeing programs, and offering family-friendly benefits.

Offering Transparent Family Leave Policies

Employers can support returning parents by offering transparent family leave policies. This means clearly outlining the amount of time off available for new parents and ensuring that it is easily accessible to employees.

By providing this information upfront, parents know exactly what they are entitled to and can plan accordingly. Transparent family leave policies also help to eliminate confusion or misunderstandings about eligibility and requirements.

This level of transparency demonstrates a commitment to supporting working parents and can contribute to their overall satisfaction with their job. According to market research, companies that offer paid family leave have higher employee retention rates and improved worker productivity, which ultimately benefits the business in the long run.

Recognizing Parenting as Work

Parents face multiple challenges when they return to work after taking time off for parenting responsibilities. It's important for employers to recognize that parenting is a valuable and demanding job in itself.

By acknowledging the efforts and skills required in raising children, employers can create a more supportive and inclusive workplace culture.

Recognizing parenting as work means acknowledging the time, energy, and emotional labor that parents invest in their children's upbringing. This includes understanding the need for flexibility in work schedules to accommodate family responsibilities, such as school pick-ups or doctor appointments.

Additionally, it involves offering resources and benefits that specifically address the unique needs of working parents, such as parental leave policies, childcare support programs, and wellness initiatives tailored to them.

By recognizing parenting as work, employers can foster an environment where working parents feel valued and supported. This recognition not only enhances employee satisfaction but also contributes to higher retention rates of skilled workers.

Accommodating Flexible Schedules

Working parents face the challenge of balancing their family responsibilities with their job duties. Employers can support them by accommodating flexible schedules. This can be done by:

  1. Allowing employees to adjust their start and end times to accommodate school schedules or after - school programs.
  2. Offering remote work options, allowing parents to work from home when needed.
  3. Implementing flexible work hours, allowing employees to choose their own working hours within certain parameters.
  4. Providing options for part - time work, giving parents the opportunity to work reduced hours while still maintaining their job.
  5. Supporting employees in reskilling or upskilling through training programs that can be completed on a flexible schedule.

During the back-to-school season, working parents were more frequently absent from work and less productive on the job.

Employers can help by offering year-round benefits such as employer-provided backup child care for emergency situations.

Employees who have access to backup child care work six additional days per year.

Employers can also provide services to help working parents find the child care best suited to their needs or navigate the complexity of finding care for an aging relative.

Providing Support Resources

Employers can play a crucial role in supporting returning parents by providing them with various resources. These resources can include access to backup childcare, assistance in finding suitable childcare options, and guidance on caring for aging relatives.

By offering these support resources, employers can help alleviate the stress and challenges faced by working parents, enabling them to balance their family responsibilities with their job duties more effectively.

Furthermore, these resources contribute to employee retention and productivity while fostering a positive workplace culture. Research shows that employees who have access to backup childcare work an additional six days per year, highlighting the impact of these support resources on employee performance.

Promoting Wellness and Wellbeing Programs

Promoting wellness and wellbeing programs is an essential way for employers to support returning parents. These programs can help parents manage the stress and challenges of balancing work and family responsibilities.

By offering resources such as mental health support, exercise classes, or mindfulness workshops, employers can create a supportive environment that prioritizes the well-being of their employees.

Research shows that employees who have access to these programs experience reduced stress levels, higher job satisfaction, and improved overall health. In fact, companies that invest in wellness initiatives have seen increased employee productivity and lower healthcare costs.

Offering Family-Friendly Benefits

Employers can support returning parents by offering family-friendly benefits. These benefits include things like flexible work schedules and remote working options, which allow parents to better balance their family responsibilities with their job duties.

Offering Family-Friendly Benefits
Offering Family-Friendly Benefits

By providing these accommodations, employers can help ease the stress and challenges faced by working parents during back-to-school season.

Another family-friendly benefit that employers can offer is backup child care for emergency situations. Many schools end classes early, leaving working parents in a bind when it comes to finding child care for their children.

By providing backup child care services, employers can alleviate this burden and ensure that their employees have peace of mind knowing that their children are taken care of.

In addition to flexible work arrangements and backup child care, employers can also provide resources and support for returning parents. This may include access to parenting workshops or networking opportunities with other returner parents who have successfully transitioned back into the workplace.

The Benefits of Supporting Returning Parents to The Workplace

Supporting returning parents in the workplace brings numerous benefits. It leads to higher retention of skilled workers, increased employee satisfaction, and enhanced company reputation.

Find out more about the positive impact of employer support for working parents in this blog post!

Retention of Skilled Workers

Supporting returning parents in the workplace is not only beneficial for the employees themselves but also for employers. When companies provide support and accommodations for working parents, it helps to retain skilled workers.

Studies have shown that the majority of employees are more likely to stay with a company that supports working parents. This is important because retaining skilled workers can contribute to the success and competitiveness of a business in today's global economy.

By recognizing and addressing the unique challenges faced by returning parents, companies can create a supportive and inclusive work environment that fosters employee loyalty and commitment.

Increased Employee Satisfaction

Supporting returning parents in the workplace can lead to increased employee satisfaction. When employers prioritize and provide resources for work-life balance, childcare support, and flexible schedules, it shows that they value their employees' well-being.

Increased Employee Satisfaction
Increased Employee Satisfaction

This creates a positive work environment where employees feel supported and appreciated. In fact, studies have shown that organizations that support working parents experience higher levels of employee engagement and retention.

When employees are satisfied with their work-life balance and feel supported by their employer, they are more likely to be committed to their job and perform at their best. Providing these supportive measures not only benefits the individual employees but also contributes to a happier workforce overall.

Enhanced Company Reputation

Providing employer-provided backup child care for emergency situations and offering services to help working parents find suitable child care can enhance a company's reputation. Moreover, supporting parents in finding care for aging relatives also contributes to the positive perception of a company.

Many companies are realizing that by providing care support for their teams, they can improve overall performance and bottom-line results. It is crucial for managers to ensure benefits equality not just for parents but also for nonparents in order to build a culture that supports work-life balance.

Additionally, employers can support breastfeeding returner moms by providing appropriate facilities and adopting a supportive company culture. These efforts not only benefit employees but also enhance the image and reputation of the company as a family-friendly and caring workplace.

Case Study: Successful Programs for Supporting Returning Parents

  • Google's Returnship Program provides opportunities for experienced professionals who have taken a career break to return to the workforce.
  • IBM's Tech Re-entry Program offers a 12-week internship to help individuals with technical backgrounds re-enter the tech industry.
  • Deloitte's "Return to Work" initiative provides a four - month paid internship for professionals who have been out of the workforce for at least two years.
  • Johnson & Johnson's Re-Ignite Program helps individuals who have taken a career break transition back into full-time roles within the company.
  • Amazon's Career Choice program offers employees up to $12,000 in tuition assistance to pursue training and education programs that lead to in-demand careers.


In conclusion, employer support plays a crucial role in parents' successful return to work. By offering transparent family leave policies, accommodating flexible schedules, and providing resources and benefits for working parents, employers can help alleviate the challenges faced by returning parents.

This support not only helps retain skilled workers but also enhances employee satisfaction and boosts the company's reputation. Through proactive measures and a family-friendly approach, employers can create a positive work environment that values and supports the needs of working parents.

Related Topics: You may also be interested in learning about returning to work after parenthood a comprehensive guide, balancing work and family tips for working parents and how to handle childcare when returning to work.

Rob Palmer

I have been helping people build remote careers for over 20 years, so they can enjoy the same location and financial freedom that I do.

After graduating from the London University of the Arts, I worked as a journalist, then become a direct-response marketer. Launching my first online business in 2000 allowed me and my family to relocate to the other side of the planet to live a better life. I was one of the first digital nomads and still love the lifestyle that remote working allows me.

I'm now an ambassador for the concept of remote working. I help people build online careers, follow their passions and live the lifestyle of their dreams.

You can find out more about me on LinkedIn.

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