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Stay-at-home parents prefer returning to work - if they get some flexibility

  • 22nd Apr'22

For parents who have been staying at home to take care of their children, better pay and flexibility would ease the transition back into the workforce. Many people started work from home during the pandemic, and now the majority say they don't want to go back to work, since they've experienced the work-life balance and other benefits of remote work. However, for parents going back to work, unnecessary barriers must be removed.
C. Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the Institute for Women's Policy Research, told Insider that it's currently an "employee's market," with workers having the ability to negotiate for greater compensation and benefits.
Stay-at-home parents may be drawn to professions that offer flexibility, enough money to pay for childcare, and programs to assist them to re-enter the workforce after a break.


Affordable childcare would help

One benefit that Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, said parents look for when returning to work is decent compensation that covers childcare and other expenses. As parents go to work, they must enroll their children in daycare, which is a significant financial burden for most families. 

According to Child Care Aware of America, the national average price for childcare in 2020 will be $10,174 per year.
In a press release, Child Care Aware of America stated, "When compared to the national median income for married couples with children under the age of 18, it would take more than 10% of household income to cover the childcare fees for one child." "The average cost of child care for a single parent is 35 % of household income."

The federal government can also assist parents who are looking for work. The Century Foundation published a paper that looked at the implications of the Build Back Better Act's universal prekindergarten and childcare policy for parents.
According to the research, policies like these would allow 1.1 million parents to enter the workforce and 2 million to increase their working hours.


The availability of sick days and flexible schedules for working mothers

Paid sick days are essential for parents to care for their children or themselves, according to Gould. Melissa Wirt, the founder of Latched Mama, an online clothing store for nursing and pregnant mothers, understands that women can be great employees as well as caregivers.

"I believe that with just a bit of flexibility, there are a huge bunch of people who could provide corporations a lot more than they are now," Wirt said.

Part-time work may be appealing to parents who want to balance family duties with re-entering the workforce.
"Working part-time for a respectable hourly salary is absolutely one way that parents may manage and obtain the flexibility they require to handle the conflicting demands on their time," Gould added.


Returnship and internship programs help ease the transition

Companies that provide returnships, or internships for adults returning to work, may be a crucial benefit for parents who are not ready to take on a full-time job.
In a recent post, the Indeed editorial team said, "It's effectively a back-to-work program where people may return to their jobs without having to start from the bottom of the career ladder."
Companies such as Amazon, Goldman Sachs, and IBM provide this type of program.

"Returnships are opportunities for workers to step back in a more supportive work environment," said Amanda Livingood, Glassdoor's senior director of corporate communications.

Former stay-at-home parent Ruchika Sah told Insider that she used an internship as a stepping stone. "It wasn't exactly what I wanted to do, but I did it because it was a foot in the door," Sah remarked. "It was also a fantastic learning experience."

Stay-at-home parents seeking to enter the workforce should consider an internship or returnship to gain new skills and cover gaps on their resumes. A returnship can eventually help you get the job you want, according to Sah.


Get more creative with support

Organizations that believe they can get through this era without reacting to employee concerns about flexibility may be surprised when parental churn rises. They also run the danger of developing burnout throughout their entire workforce if more people depart and existing employees are forced to fill the void.

Companies that experiment with how to design jobs that appeal to parents and anyone looking for more flexibility - acknowledge reality: people are more than employees, no matter how dedicated they are to their jobs. 

Parents must look after their children, adult children may be responsible for aging parents, and we must all look after our own health and well-being. Companies that become innovative with solutions fulfill this need for flexibility with a flexible response - a model that everyone can benefit from.


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