Father’s Day is the perfect occasion for employers to take stock of whether their company policies offer men, especially new dads, the support they need to be more involved in raising their kids.
To promote a workplace culture where men are also celebrated as caregivers, it is important that workplaces have the right policies in place to help male employees achieve a work-life balance.
To support dads, especially new fathers, balance work with their new caregiving role, we recommend that employers:
Provide flexible work options
New parents, whether biological or adoptive, are often sleep deprived and exhausted as they adapt their routines to welcome a baby. Depending on their circumstances, they may prefer starting work earlier than usual or working evenings instead of the usual 9 to 5.
Offering flexible work hours will help employees who are parents work when they are least distracted and most productive. If offering flexible or remote work is not viable for your business in the long-term, you could make it available to new fathers for the first three months or on a need-to basis.
Encourage new fathers to take parental leave
Ensure your employees are aware of their ESA leave entitlements. All new parents are entitled to parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child under the law. Those eligible can also apply for parental benefits under the federal Employment Insurance Act for the period they are taking an ESA parental leave.
Employers should encourage male employees to use parental leave and support them through back-to-work programs when they return from a long-term leave.
Offer a policy on disconnecting from work
You should encourage your staff to disconnect from work after their official work hours. Lead by example and avoid sending or responding to work-related communication outside of work hours.
Currently, only Ontario requires provincially regulated employers with 25 or more employees to have a policy on disconnecting from work. But it is a good practice that employers in other provinces should also consider.
Being able to disconnect from work allows your staff to spend quality time with family and friends. They can pursue after-work activities, finish off household chores, run errands, or simply find the time to relax after a long day.
Such an arrangement is also beneficial for employers. Well-rested and happy employees are more productive, experience higher job satisfaction, and more likely to stay on with your company.
Offer onsite daycare
A quality-onsite daycare is a major perk that’ll help you retain working parents on your team and attract new talent. Being able to take their children to work and not have to worry about their wellbeing would be benefit that’ll improve employee morale and retention. At a time of acute labour shortage, childcare support would also set you apart from your competition when it comes to attracting talent.
Create awareness about paternal mental health
A recent study found that 22% of fathers deal with anxiety and depression in the first year of their child’s life. While maternal post partum depression is well known, there is a lack of awareness and stigma associated with paternal depression and anxiety. Due to this, men are less likely to seek mental health support.
As the employer, you could promote positive paternal health in the workplace by normalizing paternal post partum depression. You could invite health experts to give a talk on the subject and/or share resources with staff on how and where to get help.
You could also start a support group at work for new dads to share their struggles, connect, share advice, and discuss other challenges that come with becoming new parents.
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