South Africa’s working fathers are now entitled to paternity leave (for the first time from last year), and companies that offer family-friendly workplaces and employee benefits are more likely to be employers of choice and ensure employee loyalty, performance and talent retention.
It’s not just offering benefits that matter – organizational culture and management support for work-life balance are key to reducing conflict for employees between their work and family lives, leading to more job satisfaction, less stress and risk of burnout, and improved individual and organizational performance.
This was the key finding of researchers at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) ahead of the introduction of a legislated 10 days’ parental leave (see box on next page) in South Africa in 2019. USB MBA graduate Bernadine de Winnaar said society was increasingly embracing ‘equal parenthood’, and Generation X and Millennials, who make up the majority of the current workforce, were seeking flexibility and benefits relevant to young families where both parents are pursuing careers.
De Winnaar noted that two-thirds of South African professionals reported turning down offers from employers that did not offer a work-life balance and a family-supportive environment. A family-supportive workplace offers flexible work arrangements such as flexitime hours and the option to work from home. Employees are not expected to work additional hours or take work home as a rule, and employees’ careers aren’t prejudiced when they take maternity, parental or family responsibility leave, or turn down promotions or transfers due to family responsibilities.
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