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NC Business Sector Sees Benefits in Family-Friendly Workplace

Interviews and surveys with North Carolina employers and employees found support and positive results when workplaces instituted family-friendly policies. (NCECF)
Interviews and surveys with North Carolina employers and employees found support and positive results when workplaces instituted family-friendly policies. (NCECF)
February 5, 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. — While federal and state laws lag behind, North Carolina's private sector already understands the benefits of creating family-friendly workplace policies.

That is the finding of a report based on interviews with more than 300 employers and surveys of 300 employees. The research, released Monday, was commissioned by the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

Tracy Zimmerman, executive director with the foundation, said family-friendly policies, aside from improving the lives of parents, can further the success of children as they become adults.

"What is it that we can be doing that best supports child outcomes, because that's something that we care deeply about and the business community cares deeply about, because we have a tremendous skills gap happening,” Zimmerman said. “And if we're going to meet our growing demand for workers in North Carolina, we have to make sure we're investing in our future workforce. "

The research underscores a new effort announced this month called Family Forward NC. The business initiative, funded in part by Blue Cross North Carolina, will help work with interested companies to improve their policies to support their employees and gain better productivity for their companies.

According to the research, 71 percent of employers surveyed think that family-friendly policies have a positive impact on their organization. Family Forward NC will spend the next year touring the state and meeting with employers to encourage a more family-friendly work environment.

Zimmerman said not all improvements to the workplace involve large capital investments or sacrifices from the employer.

"There's a wider range that businesses of all sizes can think about implementing,” he said. “And so we're really looking at what are the types of practices that we know have a research-shown benefit."

Successful policies already offered by employers include accommodations for nursing and pregnant mothers, flexible schedules and telecommuting. Zimmerman added that paid leave, health insurance, maternity and paternity leave are also important policies the initiative wants more employers to work toward.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC