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Abu Dhabi plan improves the lives of working parents

Abu Dhabi plan improves the lives of working parents
3 May 2024 09:22

Khaled Al Khawaldeh (Abu Dhabi)

Perhaps one of the few positives to come out of the pandemic was the added time that many parents were able to spend with their children. With meetings and work largely moved online, added flexibility gave working parents the chance to be involved in their children’s lives like never before. For many this meant attending football matches, playing in the garden, and indulging in the priceless fleeting moments of childhood.

At an event held on Saadiyat Island this week, the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority made it clear that despite the return to normalcy, the Emirate’s government was determined to ensure the added time that parents got in the COVID-era became a permanent fixture. They say that this will not only enrich the lives of the next generation, but will make Abu Dhabi an increasingly competitive place to live and work.

“Today, parents are not looking for work from home solutions. Parents are looking for flexibility; they want to deliver, they want to continue to grow, they want to prosper,” H.E Dr. Tariq Bin Hendi, Senior Partner at Global Ventures, told Aletihad.

“When you are a parent friendly, you are family friendly, and by being family friendly, you allow your culture to build to become a very familiar type of culture. I think that’s very important as a differentiation for employment, but also good as a society initiative.”

Dr. Tariq was in Abu Dhabi for the launch of new report outlining the successes of the “parent friendly” label programme. A government initiative, the label creates an incentive structure for private sector companies to differentiate themselves as parent-friendly, and receive accreditation and validation.

The latest impact report released this week, which surveyed 75 organisations across 23 industries and received almost 10,000 responses to employee surveys, outlined the milestones that the programme, now in its third cycle, had achieved for its participants.

It found that for 39% of the organisations surveyed, the most impact was seen when parent-friendly practices were formalised and transformed into policies. Additionally, it found that 35% of the organisations registered had adopted flexible work policies, 35% improved lactation facilities or hours, and 22% improved parental leave, including increased maternity and paternity leave benefits, special parental leave benefits, and leave support benefits.

“It’s a very competitive private sector landscape, Companies, for the most part offer very similar benefits to one another. I think that the parent friendly initiative changes the narrative completely for institutions,” Tariq said.

“What the parent friendly label does is it allows parents to be able to continue in their employment and still have a family life. For women that have just had children, it allows their reintegration back into the workforce, that today may be lacking in other institutions.”

“I think that it lends itself to companies operating more efficiently, more effectively. And ultimately, people being happier at the institutions they work at and the people that engage with those institutions having better experiences.”

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