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Building a family-friendly workplace remains a mere slogan in China



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Summer vacation is a tough time for working parents as most find it difficult to balance between work and children while they are not away at school.

While providing a family-friendly workplace is something most enterprises would say is a high priority, employers show little empathy towards working parents.

According a survey by 51job.com, only 9% of companies in China have polices to support employees in bringing their children to work.

Close to half of employers (46%) do not actively support staff bringing children to work, while a quarter (25.7%) made it a rule that nobody should bring kids to the workplace.

Since taking kids to work is not an option, half of the surveyed parents hired a nanny while 36% sent their children to tuition classes.

Many also said they used up all of their paid leaves during the summer to spend time with their children.

ALSO READ: More family care leave could negatively impact businesses

Colleagues had mixed reactions towards having children in the office. While one-third (32.5%) said they are against it, 25.7% said they supported it, and 41.8% held a neutral view.

One respondent said it is fine to have one child in the office but when there is a bunch of them it gets really noisy.

Another respondent who works in the HR department thinks it is not the companies responsibility to help employees take care of children. “We already offer a mother’s room in the office, now you want us to offer summer classes too?  The company cannot be responsible for everything,” she said.

Feng Li Juan, HR expert with 51job.com, said hosting summer classes in the office is rare among corporations and not a realistic option, but that does not mean that management cannot do something to help take pressure off working parents.

“Some companies provide flexible working hours or home office options for parents during summer to allow them more flexibility balancing work and family.

“Some help employees to source quality summer class providers.  There are also companies that offer visits for children to see their parents’ workplace. I think such policies are great morale boosters for staff,” she said.

Feng noted that the trend in developed countries is for mothers to return to work after their children are old enough to stay at home on their own.

“In developed economies, it is common to see women in their 30s going back to work. Companies should provide training and support for these back-to-work mothers,”  she said.

Image: Shutterstock

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