Searching for NZ's most mum-friendly workplace

PORSE In-home Childcare want to find the country’s top businesses to work for – as a mum.

New Zealand’s largest and longest serving home-based early childcare provider have launched the 2018 PORSE Mum-friendly Workplace award, to champion mums and the workplaces that support them.

PORSE recently undertook a nationwide survey of working mums to understand what it’s really like out there for women returning to the workplace.

The survey generated more than 500 experiences from both ends of the spectrum. Kerry Henderson, General Manager of PORSE says the survey reveals there are some businesses going to amazing lengths to ensure a smooth transition back into the workplace just as there are some whose treatment of staff is less than underwhelming.

One woman expressed how grateful she was when her employer combined her lunch and afternoon breaks, so she had time to visit her daughter’s preschool to breastfeed her during the day.

However, others said they felt guilty having to take time off to look after sick children and that their employer’s expectations were unfair.

“I was trying to do a full-time job in four days and only getting paid for four days, so I was being taken advantage of and it was an incredibly stressful time,” one mum wrote.

Unsurprisingly, we found the better the businesses were in supporting mums, regardless of whether they were returning to the workplace for the first time after a new baby, or had older children at school, the more loyalty mums felt towards these businesses, Mrs Henderson says.

This resulted in longer employment and better productivity as working mums proved their loyalty.

“In short, the more support businesses gave mums, the harder they were likely to work.”

The top three skills mums bring to the workplace are the ability to multi-task, manage time effectively and provide empathy to other staff, as identified in the survey.

As one mum says “We need to acknowledge the amazingly challenging job it is to be a mum, wife, partner, house-keeper and fulltime worker, and how much a woman that can juggle all of this can give back to the work and the organisation/company that she works in.”

Mrs Henderson says by promoting and acknowledging the workplaces who are supporting mums well, we aim to take the guesswork out of finding an employer, for mums.

PORSE Mum-friendly Workplace awards will be given to those who have proven they understand the worth and value of mums as workers and do their best to ensure they support them in their journey.

A recent Statistics NZ survey reveals that the most-common work arrangement used by parents to help care for a child last year was to have worked from home, followed by having a child at work, and swapping work days or times.

Labour markets and household statistics Senior Manager Jason Attewell says increasingly flexible employers, and technology may play a part in helping parents manage their care arrangements alongside work commitments.

The Childcare in New Zealand survey, a supplement to the Household Labour Force Survey, reveals that mums are more likely than dads to use arrangements such as changing working hours or taking unpaid leave to care for children.

It found that 64% of children aged four were in formal childcare. More than half of these 282,000 children were there because of their parents work schedules and commitments.

As a mother of a five-year-old, Mrs Henderson knows the value of an understanding and supportive employer and is looking forward to publicly celebrating New Zealand’s most mum-friendly workplaces.

Nominations for these awards are open from now until 23 March, with the winners to be announced on 5 April.