More than 200 business leaders gathered for the Best Place for Working Parents National Summit on May 4, 2023. MATTHEW SHELLEY
Family-friendly practices will be at the center of a successful American economy in the long term, Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker says. “There is truthfully no more important time in this country than right now to think about what it looks like to raise healthy families,” Parker said. “And the only way we’re going to get there is when private businesses step up to do the right thing.” Parker spoke at the Best Place for Working Parents National Summit last Thursday and shared her personal experience balancing a career with raising a family. More than 200 business leaders gathered for the two-day event at the Hotel Drover in the Fort Worth Stockyards to discuss insights and best practices for family-friendly benefits.
More than 36% of Fort Worth households have children, ranking second across the U.S. for the number of families with children in a large city. Until October 2020, the city of Fort Worth had no parental leave policy. After the city’s next budget cycle, Parker said, moms in Fort Worth will get 12 weeks of maternity leave.
Julianne Galloway, vice president of global benefits at AT&T, discussed the correlation between better work benefits and employee retention. “The data shows when you have an engaged employee base, when they feel supported and they value the policies that are shared with them, they are more productive and they are more loyal,” Galloway said. Two years ago, AT&T launched caregiver time off benefits to its employees, a resource Galloway has seen employees value and use responsibly. Different from vacation or personal time off, caregiver time off allows employees to take the time necessary to care for a sick child, an elderly parent or a family member in need.
Employees can take up to 15 days of caregiver time off per year. Fifteen percent of leaders use the benefit for an average of four days per year.
“The caregiver time off is more a productivity measure,” Galloway told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “There’s no incremental cost to the company to offer that, but the return is the productivity of the employee. If they can focus on family when they need to focus on family, it helps them focus on work when they need to focus on work.” Galloway said the benefit helps alleviate employees from burnout, because they can use their vacation time disconnecting, refreshing and recharging rather than taking care of their loved ones. Then, when employees return to work, they’re more productive, Galloway said.
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