Family Friendly Policies
- Schedule Flexibility
- Lactation-Friendly Workplace
- High-Quality Child Care
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
- Education & Training
Flexible schedule workplaces can be of benefit to employers for a variety of reasons. Flexible work environments attract, motivate and retain employees, increase employee satisfaction and maintain employee productivity. Formal flexible work arrangements may include the following, although not all will be applicable in every situation.(1)
Modification in start and end times, often with required core hours for full-time employees;
Compression of full-time job responsibilities into fewer than five days per week (often referred to as a 4/10), or fewer than 10 days in two weeks (often referred to as a 9/80);
Full-time work conducted up to several days a week at a site other than the primary worksite;
Full-time work conducted at home or another site with limited presence at a regular company facility;
Reduced hours or schedule, with a corresponding reduction in job responsibilities and pay, as well as an adjustment of benefits; and
Two employees on reduced schedules and workload share overlapping responsibilities of a full-time position, with a corresponding reduction in pay and an adjustment of benefits for each.
Other flexibility options might include:
Paid time off (PTO) and emergency time off: PTO banks, use of sick and vacation time in part-day increments, or ability to use PTO for sick children or emergency child care situations;
Shift swapping; and
Occasional flexibility: Flexibility that is not regularly scheduled but is used from time to time (i.e., time off taken in small increments with the ability to make it up in the same pay period, shifting start and end times because of an appointment or event, working from home on occasion, etc.).
Employers have a legal obligation to support breastfeeding. Fulfilling these obligations can be an effective strategy to recruit, retain and engage mothers with infants—one of the largest and fastest growing segments in the U.S. workforce, especially in the retail, service and other lower-wage industries. And because studies show that breastfeeding helps protect infants from acute illnesses and infections and helps protect women from certain types of cancer, supporting nursing mothers helps lower health care costs.
Businesses that support nursing mothers at work:
- Enjoy a return of $3 for every $1 invested in breastfeeding support.
- Increase employee recruitment, retention, productivity and engagement.
- Reduce employee absenteeism and health care costs.
- Enjoy a family-friendly image in the community.(2)
Please contact the Chamber for access to a Lactation Toolkit to help you implement a full lactation program at your worksite or visit the links below. The kit includes talking points for employers and other resources and tools.
Northern California Center for Well Being:
California Department of Public Health:
- Lactation Accommodation for Employers
- Returning to Work: Lactation Accommodation for Parents
- Lactation Accommodation Laws for Workplace and School
Center for Disease Control:
- The CDC Guide to Strategies to Support Breastfeeding Mothers and Babies (PDF)
- Support for Breastfeeding in the Workplace (PDF)
National Business Group on Health:
- Investing in Maternal and Child Health Benefits: An Employer Cost-Savings Calculator (PDF)
- Investing in Maternal and Child Health: An Employer's Toolkit (PDF)
High-Quality Child Care
Choosing child care is a stressful and very personal decision based on a family’s unique needs. The task of choosing the right high-quality child care can cause stress for the employee as they look for just the right place to leave their child during the day. Offering support as an employee goes through this process can help ease the burden the employee is carrying as they return to work, and helps solidify for the employee that their employer understands that they are leaving their child to be in the workplace. The Choosing Childcare Brochure is available through the Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County (4Cs) and is available for download in English and Spanish at https://www.sonoma4cs.org/parents/choosing-child-care/. Additionally, 4Cs is able to provide the following resources:
- Discuss (in English or Spanish) particular concerns or questions of the family regarding child care and other resources (M – F, 9am – 3pm)
- Offer a free customized list of licensed providers and/or child care centers/preschools which can be matched according to area, hours, and the age of the child
- Provide information and application for subsidized child care/preschools
- Offer a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account
Additionally, 4Cs staff can come to the employer's facilities and do a short workshop (e.g. at lunch time) for staff on choosing child care for a modest fee. Customized referrals would also be available for the employees at this workshop.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the federal government’s largest resources for working low-income Americans. It reduces the amount of income tax low-to-moderate income families are required to pay, and provides a wage supplement to some families. Hundreds of thousands of Californians fail to claim EITC refunds, which range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars each. Families aren't the only ones who suffer when refunds go unclaimed. Local economies don’t benefit, since these dollars are never spent at local businesses. So fewer jobs are created, fewer wages are paid, and eventually less tax revenue comes back to state and local governments. These refunds are a foregone economic stimulus for California.(3)
In Sonoma County the United Way of the Wine Country offers the Earn It! Keep It! Save It! Program which provides free, quality tax return preparation to low-to-moderate income individuals, families, and seniors to ensure that those who qualify take advantage of the EITC.
Education & Training
Offering onsite training for your employees not only provides a safe environment for employees to learn, but it also translates to improved employee morale, lower turnover and absenteeism as well as making it easier for employers to institute change and helps improve workplace communication and training. Any of the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber's WHEEL program elements is an easy way for an employer to begin onsite training and immediately start to effect change in the workplace.
(1) Society for Human Resource Management. "2012 National Study of Employers Reveals Increased Workplace Flexibility" Available at: http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/benefits/articles/pages/2012nse.aspx
(2) 1998 International Lacation Consultant Association. World Breastfeeding Week Action Kit, "Breastfeeding: The Best Investment." Available at: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/breastfeeding/Documents/MO-BF-BestInvestment.pdf
(3) Avalos, A. & Alley, S.New America Foundation. Left on the Table: Unclaimed Earned Income Tax Credits Cost California’s Economy and Low-income Residents $1 Billion Annually. (March 9, 2010). Available at: http://assetsca.newamerica.net/publications/policy/left_on_the_table
For More Information:
Contact Ananda Sweet at (707) 636-3662.
Special Thanks to:
First 5 Sonoma County for providing funding for the WHEEL Plus elements of this program.