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Family friendly workplaces?

  1. #1
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    Family friendly workplaces?

    Does your employer offer family friendly work policies? Such practices might include:

    * part time work
    * job sharing
    * term time working
    * additional maternity leave (paid or unpaid)
    * anything else????

    The only ones I have heard of so far in Hong Kong are Goldman Sachs (additional maternity leave) and Merrill Lynch (private room for pumping breastmilk for b/f mums).

    I work part time and whilst my immediate boss is supportive, it is not company policy. I certainly won't be considered for promotion whilst working part time (which I'm not happy about).

    I would be interested in hearing from any mums and dads whose employers offer any family friendly options, how it was implemented and how it works for you.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Slee is offline Registered User
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    Nearly two years ago three of us at a highish level all had babies at the same time in my office. One brave person negotiated the executive bathroom be made available to us for pumping, but it took us nearly two months after we got back to get a chair to sit on. What are we all doing now? One had her promise of part time work revoked once she informed the company that it was just too hard to return (after a pregnancy in which things looked shockingly bad from her 20 week scan onwards) as she was 'not showing a long term commitment' so had to work out her three month resignation period full time then left HK). I quit in March after surviving a year since they told me one week before I was due back that they were no longer able to offer me part time work (the person for whom I had ended up solely working for and had made myself indispensible to transferred while I was on statutory maternity leave) and finally the third - who had been flying high and whom was working disgusting hours despite of having a breastfed newborn at home - gave birth to her second a few weeks ago after getting pregnant less than four months after returning to work fulltime. What do we all do? I hope to re-enter the workforce one day so will not disclose that information! Who do we work for? A huge European company! Moral of the story? They really, really let us all down but are in a position of power with wives at home doing SFA so made the most of it! What will we do?

  3. #3
    Slee is offline Registered User
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    Nothing, as all of us hope to make lots of money again once our children are at preschool at least! (P.S. dramatic pause was a typing error!)

  4. #4
    nykki is offline Registered User
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    Standard Life Bank in the UK gives 6 months paid maternity leave and 6 weeks paid paternity leave. Plus, flexible hours at no reduced pay and the same opportunity to advance as a regular 9-5 position. I have not worked for them here, but I would assume that they would offer something similar?

  5. #5
    aldougie is offline Registered User
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    I work for one of the banks mentioned and was given 4 months maternity leave, we have a mother's room provided for pumping and feeding which is equipped with fridge and washing equipment etc., they have a buddy scheme to help mother's returning to work cope with the transition and I now work 4 days a week which my bosses fought with HR as I have a rolling day which is a concept they couldn't cope with. I tried to work my pre-baby hours but couldn't cope (strange 12+ hours was once so normal!) I was so stressed about this as I thought it would cause all sorts of problems but when when I said that I wanted to leave at 6pm so I would be home every night to bath and feed my daughter I was told no problem and true to their word it is no problem. I am also hoping to change roles into one where the workload will be less and not so stressful - also suggested by my manager who is pushing for this.

    I am pregnant again and they couldn't be more supportive - if I look like crap everyone is checking up on me and other women that I know use the sick room if they are exhausted and go and get a couple of hours sleep.

    I know that my manager's are probably not the norm but I know a number of mum's that have gone part-time at my company and the company seems to be fully supportive of this. I think working for an American bank has real advantages and I am quite shocked that so many European companies have such different benefits in Asia.

    In terms of promotion I wouldn't expect to get promoted working part-time and I think that is fair - I don't get involved in the projects that I used to and I won't do late night conference calls etc. so I'm not complaining.

    I've been really pleased with the way things have worked out at my company although the l-t aim is to jack it all in anyway but they have been really supportive - maybe they are worried about law suits but hey whatever the reason I'm quite happy!

  6. #6
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
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    Alison Congratulations!!!!!!

    When are you due?
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

  7. #7
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    Slee - thanks for sharing your experience. It sounds like your (anonymous) employer is very short sighted. I can't imagine why they would want to lose 3 high flyers just because they couldn't be a bit flexible. My personal view is that any job can be done part-time if both the employer and employee are prepared to be flexible. At home we can access email/phones and our helpers can take over babysitting at a moment's notice if something urgent comes up. What is wrong with some (particularly European) employers???

    aldougie - Congrats on your pregnancy. Wow. I'm really impressed with your employer. I'm sure they will reap the rewards in future as they become an employer of choice.

    I'm interested in one comment you made, namely that you don't expect to be promoted whilst working part time. As a part-timer, say you work 4 days as week, so doing 80% as much work as other people. Wouldn't you expect to be promoted, just 20% slower than others? I know that you leave "early", but if you're anything like me, you probably get as much work done in your shorter hours as some of those still hanging around the office at 10pm. It is a shame we're so often judged by how long we spend in the office rather than what we achieve.

    Lack of promotions is something I'm really struggling with, so maybe I'm being unrealistic. It just seems like such a waste of all my experience and training (a lot of which my employer paid for!), to stay in the same spot. With the last round of promotions, I've been overtaken by my (male) contemporaries and am an equal level to people that I previously trained.

    Otherwise my employer seems reasonable. I work 3 days a week (at 60% of my pre-baby pay, which is fair), leave at 5.30pm. I can attend conference calls after my baby is asleep (7pm), I check my emails and reply to urgent messages on my days off. I am contactable at all times and can change my days off thanks to my helper. As I said, give and take.

    Fortunately for me I have a supportive boss, as these aren't firm-wide policies.

    Thanks very much everyone for sharing your experiences. It has been really helpful to understand how other people cope with the pressures of motherhood. Most of my mummy friends are either stay at home mums, or full time workers. I haven't come into contact with many part timers.

  8. #8
    aldougie is offline Registered User
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    Jane - thanks for the congrats.

    I certainly am a lot more focussed now that I leave at 6pm so I probably do manage my time more effectively than colleagues who work 5 days a week and who seem to prefer to take the 1.5 hr lunch break etc. I don't expect to get promoted because my company has a rigid promotion structure in place and working p/t means that the route that I would follow is pretty much out of the window now.

    Unlike you I am also very strict about my days off and under no circumstances will I work on a day off - although the company I work for is very good if I started to look at the odd thing on a day off I am pretty much convinced that would escalate into much much more so I just don't do it.

    I think that it is a sad fact of life that as soon as you say you want to go p/t companies look at you differently even those who treat working mum's relatively well.

    European companies amaze me that they don't appear to bring anything from their other offices working practices to HK - maybe its because they haven't been sued yet!

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