Describe policies that workplaces offer their employee-parents that are intended to allow them to participate more fully in family life. Why do they fail to accomplish their goal?

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gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The workplace policies offered to employee-parents vary from nation to nation and organization to organization. While some employee-parents get great benefits, there are many others who hardly get any. Some of the commonly offered benefits to employee-parents are:

1) Paid leaves: Maternity and paternity "paid" leaves may be available to employees. At several organizations/countries, the partners can share the leaves; at other place, paternity leaves are much shorter than maternity leaves. Some countries do not offer any "paid" leaves. The US is one of the very few countries that does not offer "paid" parental leaves, while there are countries that offer more than 400 days-off (to be shared by partners).

2) Flexible hours: Many organizations also offer flexible work hours to enable employees to spend more time with their families.

3) "Work-from-home: Many employee-parents also benefit from a "work-from-home" option. The employees, especially in telemarketing, software development, etc. can take advantage of this option and work from home instead of visiting the office daily.

4) Free on-campus babysitting: Many companies also offer free babysitting facilities to their employee-parents so that they can work while being close to their children.

5) Unpaid leaves ("Job-protected"): At several places, unpaid leaves are available that are "job-protected," i.e. employees can come back and join the workplace after these leaves are used up without fear of job-loss.

The failure of these policies is the result of their variable nature and relatively short duration. For example, the US does not offer any paid parental leaves, unlike other nations. The "job-protected" leaves are very short (usually a couple of weeks). Many employee-parents cannot afford to take "unpaid" time-off due to economic reasons. The new options, such as work-from-home and "free on-campus babysitting," offer you time with family, yet the work pressure stays the same. Thus, these policies, even if available and applicable, provide little family time yet more economic worries and hence fail to accomplish better family participation.

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