Ben Black's monthly summary of everything you need to know about work+family - female leadership, flexible working, gender diversity, and a bit of childcare/eldercare news to boot...
Bright Horizons lockdown lessons survey results
The big news this month was the release of our parenting in lockdown survey results.
We surveyed 1,500 parents - largely from non-clients - to understand a bit more about how life has been for working parents during lockdown and to get a glimpse of what the future might and should look like.
The full report has some fascinating insights and is worth delving into. But for a 10 minute read you can also download Unlocking the Lessons of Lockdown: An Employer's Guide.
There are a number of key points that emerge:
- Flexibility is here to stay
- Productivity and engagement has actually increased during lockdown
- Managers emerge as heroes everywhere
- And childcare - backup care, long-term care, advice - it's fundamental to the future.
If you would like to discuss the report findings or understand how other organisations are addressing the home/office new 'normal', please get in touch.
Childcare re-opening for the summer
The childcare market gradually returned to something like normal in June. 90% of nurseries are now open again and the anecdotal evidence from the industry is that occupancy levels are already surprisingly high.
The next big test of how parents really feel about group childcare will be the summer holiday season. Holiday clubs are allowed to operate, albeit with a host of extra restrictions.
Are parents booking because they are desperate for a break after 3 months of unbelievable pressure, or because they are completely confident in the post-COVID way of operating? We won't find out until September - and only then as long as that second wave doesn't hit us.
I've been reading the childcare news from Ireland. The Irish and UK childcare markets took very different routes to their current states. Recent headlines from across the sea include:
- Ireland has the most expensive childcare in the OECD; and
- Universal childcare would be cheaper and better all round. Sounds eerily familiar.
Gender pay gap reporting and fathers getting involved
Gender pay gap reporting requirements got quietly shelved during lockdown although lots of companies continue to report them. There are plenty of headlines about how working from home has been a 'great leveller' for mothers everywhere, as fathers finally get properly involved in domestic duties.
In theory flexible working should act as the greatest boost to equality since the industrial revolution made brains more important than brawn. But... still it looks like the job losses that follow economic contraction will hit women far harder than men. Life is never fair.
Eldercare responsibilities and work
The ability to work from home will also make life much easier for everyone who combines their career with a commitment for one or both of their parents. It also looks likely that there will a compulsory right to carer's leave introduced at some point. The Govt. consultation closes on the 20th August.
And, finally in the news...
- New Zealand extended paid parental leave to 26 weeks
- Fidelity enhanced its parental leave policies globally
- Congratulations to all the Bright Horizons clients which made it into the 2020 UK list of Best Employers for Women.