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5 ways to implement an effective family-friendly policy

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read

New research has unveiled the top methods used by businesses for supporting families in the workplace.

The collaborative data by Family Friendly Workplaces, Parents At Work, and UNICEF Australia outlined what companies are doing right, and what they’re not.

According to the report, flexibility is seeing increased support. In 2021–22, 88 per cent of organisations were providing guides and training to assist with flexible working. This figure jumped to 95 per cent this year. Flexibility is key for families who may have other responsibilities to juggle.


Paid parental leave has also become less gendered. In 2021–22, 74 per cent of organisations promoted gender-equal leave. In 2022–23, 86 per cent did the same.

There are areas where companies are lacking, however. Caring policies were one such area, as only a third of employers offered caring needs in HR agendas. Similarly, 42 per cent of workplaces aren’t offering family mental health and wellbeing policy, 47 per cent of organisations lack the provisions to support families, just 22 per cent assist employees with organising caregiving responsibilities, and only 12 per cent provide back-up/emergency care.

To help turn these statistics around and provide families with the care and support they need, the collaborative report offered five tips for maximising wellbeing:

1. Leadership is key

“More employers are increasingly committed to doing more to educate leaders on the importance of embedding family-friendly work practices as part of the organisation’s people and culture diversity and inclusion strategy. There has been a significant increase in the shift to view leaders as critical enablers in driving the cultural change to create more family-inclusive workplaces.”

2. Making flexibility work

“There has been an increase in the number of employers (68 per cent to 81 per cent) committed to enhancing their organisational practices to support flexible working. This includes providing examples of flexible work in action and utilising a hybrid or team-based or agile work allocation approach. It is encouraging that whilst many organisations have flexibly work on their agenda already due to COVID, they are keeping it in their foresight as an area to continually improve on.”

3. Domestic violence

“Companies are increasingly supporting domestic and family violence victims. Nearly double (62 per cent) the number of employers (compared to last year) are committed to extending the organisation’s domestic and family violence (DFV) policy or framework.”

4. Care provisions

“Companies are implementing a structured caregiver policy, broadening access to paid parental leave or expanding existing policy benefits. Fifty-six per cent of employers are committed to embedding a formalised carer’s policy or extending current policy provisions. About half of employers are committed to expanding inclusivity of the paid parental leave policy, such as removing primary/secondary carer labels and broadening the definition of family types. Thirty-seven per cent of employers will expand ways of supporting employees with childcare and other forms of care for employees with caring responsibilities.”

5. Voice of employee and measuring impact

“Employers are increasingly seeking feedback from their staff on family-friendly work practices. In fact, 81 per cent of employers are committed to seeking increased feedback from employees, while the same percentage is committed to improving how they measure the effectiveness of those practices.”



Your organization's culture determines its personality and character. The combination of your formal and informal procedures, attitudes, and beliefs results in the experience that both your workers and consumers have. Company culture is fundamentally the way things are done at work.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.