Redesigning the workplace to be family-friendly: What governments and businesses can do

Investing in family friendly policies is good for families, businesses and economies. But for too many parents around the world, policies, such as paid parental leave, breastfeeding breaks, childcare and child grants, are not a reality. 

The lack of such policies compromises parents’ ability to securely bond with their babies in the first critical years of life – a time, evidence tells us, when the combination of the right nourishment, a loving environment and stimulating care can strengthen a baby’s developing brain and give her the best start in life.

Not only do family-friendly policies pay off in healthier, better-educated children, greater gender equality and sustainable growth, they are linked to better workforce productivity and the ability to attract, motivate and retain employees.

The good news is that momentum for change is growing. An increasing number of businesses are beginning to see the value of offering family-friendly policies. 

But progress in the business and policy worlds is too slow. Greater investment in family-friendly policies is urgently needed. It’s good for children, good for women, good for business and good for the economy. 

Call to action: Investing in family-friendly policies 

  1. UNICEF calls on governments and businesses to redesign the workplaces of the future, to enable parents to give their children the best start in life, while boosting productivity and women’s empowerment. 
  2. Sufficient paid leave to all parents and guardians, in both the formal and informal economies, to meet the needs of their young children. This includes paid maternity, paternity, and parental leave, and leave to care for sick young children.
  3. Supporting the ability of mothers to breastfeed exclusively for six months, as recommended by global endorsed standards, and to continue breastfeeding for as long as they choose.
  4. Ensuring that all children have access to affordable, quality childcare and early education.
  5. Providing child benefits and adequate wages to help families provide for young children.

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