AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s no secret that it can be hard to balance work and family life. On Wednesday, the City of Austin hopes to help businesses take the first step into a family-friendly work environment by kicking off its Family-Friendly Workplace Initiative Wednesday.
Businesses are encouraged to take a closer look at their practices and policies affecting young families. In Fall 2018, Early Matters Greater Austin created a toolkit to help businesses move in that direction.
City officials say this initiative comes at a time when “Austin is experiencing near full employment and continued solid job growth in the region,” they wrote in a press release. About 83% of millennials would be willing to leave their current job for one that offers family-friendly benefits, officials wrote.
“I think it’s definitely a theme where childcare is something necessary,” David Wenger said.
He and his partner, Zoey Mantarakis are not your typical parents and you will not find them in a cubicle.
“I’m a yoga teacher,” Mantarakis said. Wenger says he works with endurance athletes, runners, cyclists, and triathletes.
They both understand the struggle when it comes to maintaining a work-life balance.
“When (my sons) were little I did do a lot of juggling of leaving the older boys with dad while I worked,” Mantarakis said.
On top of taking care of a family, some also face the added stress of trying to make ends meet.
“It just becomes more important that employers are flexible because one parent isn’t staying home anymore. Both people have to work to earn to live here,” Mantakaris said.
City leaders hope the initiative will help create those family-friendly environments.
“I think Austin is a forerunner for that” Mantakaris said.
The toolkit lists a variety of family-friendly workplace options including:
- Health Benefits
- Voluntary Living Wage
- Paid Leave
- Supporting Employees in Caregiving Responsibilities with childcare
- Flexibility in location and hours
- Supportive Services
- Career Development Opportunities that enhance family economic security
- Community Involvement Strategies
Companies that already offer some family-friendly benefits include T3, IBM, Austin Diagnostic Clinic, Kendra Scott, Texas Mutual, Sauceda Industries, Kerbey Lane Cafe, P. Terry’s, and the City of Austin.
In California, the city of Berkeley recently passed a right-to-request law that gives employees the ability to request predictable work hours and a flexible schedule. In 2013, right-to-request laws were passed in Vermont and San Francisco, going into effect in 2014. That same year, former President Barack Obama issued an executive order giving federal employees the right-to-request.
The United Kingdom also passed a similar law in 2002.