Need a productive workplace? Welcome moms!
Across every industry and in almost every position, women are an incredibly important part of the workforce, accounting for approx. 47 percent of all workers. More notably, the fastest-growing segment of the workforce is women with children under the age of three.
Paying attention to this demographic — one that spans blue collar jobs as well as 9-to-5 office jobs — and the unique needs of breastfeeding moms in particular, is a necessity that, when done right, can provide both short-term and long-term benefits to mom, baby and the employer. This drives positive business results through healthier, happier and more motivated employees and work environments. Ultimately, these consequences often benefit the employer, as employee turnover and dissatisfaction with management and benefits can often negatively impact the bottom line.
Parliament of India approved a bill granting women working in the organised sector paid maternity leave of 26 weeks, up from 12 weeks now, a decision which will benefit around 1.8 million women.
The law will apply to all establishments employing 10 or more people and the entitlement will be for the first two children. For the third child, the entitlement will be 12 weeks.
With this, India becomes the country with the third highest maternity leave. Canada and Norway grant 50 weeks and 44 weeks respectively as paid maternity leave.
This is a significant amount of time for mothers to heal and bond with their new-borns, considering that it takes an average of six weeks to physically recover from giving birth.
When it comes to breast feeding at work it requires businesses to offer reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after giving birth. It also requires a private space other than a bathroom to express breast milk in, free from intrusion by coworkers and the public. However your employees need to know what your company is offering them in order for the company and employees to benefit! Once you have your program in place, you’ll need to promote it to ensure a broad range of employees are aware of it.
A win-win for both mom and employer.
Employers of both hourly and salaried workers have begun to see a major ROI from simply supporting their employed mothers, savings huge amount each year.
Businesses also experience savings with a decreased turnover rate. Supporting moms by helping them to confidently maintain their breastfeeding goals eases the transition of returning to work. Family-friendly environments are welcoming and contribute to increased productivity, because employees are more likely to work harder when they feel valued and respected by their employer.
There is a common misconception that these benefits only apply to corporate environments, but there are many examples of high-value savings being created in blue-collar and service industries as well.
You’ll get the best return-on-investment on breastfeeding support program if your employees know that it is a program available to them. When they use the program, not only will they get the benefit of giving breastmilk to their baby, but you’ll gain from less absenteeism. Breastfeeding programs also reduce medical costs, and employees appreciate that their company has these valuable benefits for them.
Companies also often get media coverage when they start a mother’s room or a lactation program. This promotes a positive image of the company to the community. Some states will even give a special “infant-friendly” or “family-friendly” designation to companies with comprehensive lactation support, which further boosts the company’s image.
I would like to share the example —
You’ve probably seen a photo of Licia Ronzulli, even if you don’t know who she is.
Who she is, is an Italian MEP representing the New Forza Italia party, who won a seat in the 2009 European Parliament election.
The reason that you’ve probably seen a photo of her is that she takes her baby – now toddler – with her into parliament.
In 2010, photos of Ronzulli were transmitted around the world, showing her voting in a plenary session with her tiny baby cuddled close to her chest in a sling.
It was also fantastic to see that the European Parliament was so accommodating of a new mother who presumably had to feed her baby, take a break to change nappies and deal with occasional or frequent bouts of crying.
That first appearance of Vittoria in parliament was apparently a symbolic gesture to claim more rights for women in reconciling work and family life.
There are photos of Ronzulli in the plenary sessions, with little Vittoria growing older by her side and even, charmingly, raising her hand to vote along with her mother.