The United States holds the highest rate for single-parent families, accounting for 15.76 million kids living with a single mother. In addition to hiring a child support lawyer to guarantee that each of these children receives appropriate emotional and financial assistance from both parents, it is also imperative that society recognizes the existence of single mothers and their need for help and support.
Imposing your expectations on every staff members’ time is particularly difficult for single parents to meet. They may even find themselves being pushed in various ways, managing their parental obligations while adhering to job demands on a round-the-clock basis. All of these responsibilities harm one’s mental and physical health. Thus, a systemic shift in thinking is a must.
Start with hiring single parents
The pandemic has forced several single moms to leave their employment or to reduce their working hours. Organizations should make a conscious decision and effort to try and rehire these employees, especially now that the economy is starting to mend itself. In addition, companies need to develop a means to assess these employees’ performance and promotional opportunities without compromising the assistance they need due to the pandemic.
For example, most workplace standards are predicated on the outdated concept of the ideal worker who is always available. Therefore, employees who have caring obligations, specifically single parents, are regarded as lower-wage earners who require less housing. Instead, businesses should build working systems and practices to account for all employees with caregiving obligations and limited to no support.
To avoid selection bias, companies can conduct organized screenings with questions that are related to job needs. Employers who use AI to filter through job applications centered on ideal workers must reconfigure their algorithms to accommodate caregiving disruptions, which is especially important for single parents.
Allowing your organization’s culture to be more inclusive
It’s all about the language. Keep company events from being marketed exclusively to couples or urging your employees to bring their spouses with them during seminars or open houses. There’s a reason why the concept of “plus one” was invented. Furthermore, managers should not assume that single parents do not seek challenging tasks or that they cannot travel because of their situation. Asking is the key.
Also, consider offering extra pay for lone parents who are required to attend work activities outside of their regular office hours. This will result in them having to do more effort coordinating childcare on their own time. Inquiring more about possibilities that they seek in their position or profession may also lead to more open discussions on how companies may better assist them and how these employees’ skills and contributions can help the business in return.
Rest days matter
Rather than engaging in a new pastime, just like the rest of the world did, most workers, including lone parents, increased their work hours or opted for triple jobs during the onset of COVID-19, placing them on a more vulnerable state in crossroads with burnout and staying sane for their families.
Businesses can promote overtime pay practices or support governmental campaigns for universally compensated family, emergency, and sick leaves. Consider addressing all the remaining paid leaves that workers may have accrued during the outbreak and ensure that they can take holidays without incurring penalties. Additionally, urge managers to set a good example by taking time off themselves.
Implement working parent programs
Businesses can also lend their support and initiatives to reform social policies and practices to consider the specific challenges that single parents face. For example, according to one research conducted in Australia, single moms have less stress and frustration than married mothers, possibly due to the government’s assistance in maintaining child care help and providing direct relief to those in need. Of course, this is not to downplay the latter but rather an excellent way for companies to help ease the burden for single parents in need, especially in times of crisis.
Moreover, other nations are beginning to recognize the difficulties that single parents experience and provide assistance in response. For example, Finland’s new program now offers 164 days of paid parental leave for each parent, with single parents receiving the full 328 days. Similarly, Germany has granted 10 extra days of paid parental leave for married couples and an extra 20 days for single parents. Examining the benefits provided to single parents worldwide can assist institutions in advocating for and supporting measures that can influence change for the better.
Single parents working full time to take care and provide for their youngsters face the increased strain. Thus, providing better structure and support can make life and employment more manageable and accessible to them. In addition, the more businesses demonstrate their commitment to their workers, the more workers will demonstrate their commitment to these organizations—and that goes for all employees, especially those who belong in the single-parent workforce.