Family friendly policies — is it true that they are rare in the US, but common in Europe?
Two more readers have different opinions: one attorney touts the childcare services of one US company very highly, while a diversity specialist in the UK is less than enthusiastic about family friendly practices in Europe.
Curtiss Jameson, an attorney in the NYC area:
“I cannot comment directly on women not returning to employment after having a child, but I can comment on lack of family friendly policies as a disincentive to transferring jobs/filling employer’s lateral needs.
My wife left employment at a prominent, large pharma company to obtain employment at a competing (albeit also prominent and large) pharma company because the first did not provide any childcare, whether onsite or through an external partnership with a childcare center, but the second provided onsite childcare. She is well credentialed and always receives the highest rating on reviews.
She has stuck with that “second” pharma company through 3 children because of the onsite child care (and other family friendly efforts) despite numerous head-hunters looking to poach her for other pharmas in the area. We’ve had to forgo opportunities for markedly increased pay (and double title promotions) at these other potential employers – – but it has been worth it. The transactional costs of switching employers which do not have any provisions for childcare are too great.
I wonder how much other talent is locked-up due to such issues? Plus, she feels a genuine loyalty to her employer for providing a family friendly environment while also permitting her career to grow in terms of promotions and raises where most of the competitors simply do not care about family issues other than what the FMLA requires.”
Anthony Wilkes, Chair and Chief Assessor at United Kingdom Investor Equality and Diversity, Twickenham, UK:
“Interesting article. My experience working as an equality, diversity and inclusion training consultant and dispute resolution adviser in the UK and mainland Europe would caution against the US benchmarking itself against Europe regarding family friendly policies.
Whilst it is correct that some European countries notably France and the Scandinavian countries have enshrined in law proactive measures to promote gender equality in the workplace, the overall position across Europe regarding prospective returning mothers to the workplace is very poor indeed; with the number of discrimination claims in this area increasing.”