Supporting Working Parents: Guide for NZ Businesses

Published 16 May 2023 | 2 min read

Being a working parent is a juggling act that requires a delicate balance between professional responsibilities and family obligations. As employers and managers of small to medium businesses in New Zealand, it's crucial to recognize the unique needs of working parents and provide them with the necessary support. In this article, we will explore the challenges faced by working parents, shed light on the opportunities for improvement, and offer practical advice on how businesses can better support their employees.

Are we supporting working parents? According to statistics from, there are over 434,000 households with couples and children, and more than 131,000 households led by sole parents with dependent children. These numbers highlight the significance of this employee demographic and the need to address their specific needs.

Working parents often face the daunting task of balancing their personal and professional lives without adequate support. A survey revealed that nearly half of working parents (46%) reported never having help at home, while only 12% said they always had assistance. This lack of support places an immense burden on working parents, affecting their overall well-being and work performance.

Consider this: by providing meaningful support to working parents, businesses can create a more engaged and committed workforce. Employees who feel supported and valued are likely to demonstrate higher levels of productivity, loyalty, and job satisfaction. Additionally, a supportive environment can help attract and retain top talent, contributing to the long-term success of the business.

Failing to support working parents can lead to increased stress, burnout, and reduced employee morale. It may result in decreased productivity, higher turnover rates, and difficulty attracting skilled professionals who prioritize work-life balance. However, embracing positive change and addressing these challenges can unlock a wealth of benefits for both employees and the business.

How can you proactively support your parent workers?

1) Foster a supportive culture: Cultivate a workplace culture that recognizes and values the diverse needs of working parents. Encourage open communication, flexibility, and empathy among employees and management.

2) Flexible working arrangements: Offer flexible working hours and remote or hybrid work options, enabling parents to balance their personal and professional commitments effectively. This flexibility can enhance employee satisfaction, reduce stress levels, and boost overall productivity.

3) Additional leave policies: Consider implementing additional leave days for parental responsibilities, allowing working parents to attend to their children's needs without the worry of exhausting their vacation or sick leave entitlements.

4) Subsidized childcare options: Explore partnerships or initiatives to provide subsidized childcare solutions for employees. This can alleviate financial burdens and provide peace of mind for working parents, enabling them to focus on their work responsibilities.

5) Career development opportunities: Ensure that working parents have equal access to career development and advancement opportunities. Offer mentorship programs, flexible training options, and support mechanisms that cater to their specific needs.

As employers and managers of small to medium businesses in New Zealand, it's essential to prioritize the well-being and support of working parents. By embracing a compassionate and inclusive approach, businesses can create an environment that fosters employee engagement, loyalty, and performance. Recognizing the challenges faced by working parents and implementing practical solutions will not only benefit employees but also contribute to the long-term success of the business. Together, let's build a workplace that supports working parents, creating a brighter future for all.

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