Companies and organizations that foster healthy workplaces reap numerous benefits. These include lower health care costs, better employee morale, higher levels of productivity and better employee retention.
As an employer, there are many things you can do to create a healthy environment for the current and future parents in your enterprise.
Provide a healthy physical environment
Reduce, eliminate or manage physical and chemical hazards in the workplace, including:
- Tobacco smoke
- Excessive heat
Nurture a healthy culture
It is impossible to eliminate stress in the workplace. But you can create a culture that encourages healthy lifestyles and a good work/life balance for employees. These include:
- Offering open lines of communication
- Having clear policies on harassment and diversity
- Making sure employees know and understand job responsibilities
- Providing employees with the time and resources they need to do their jobs
- Protecting workers by giving adequate training and avenues for redress of grievances
Encourage employees to develop healthy life practices
Taking small steps to promote healthy living in the workplace can pay huge dividends in employee health.
Steps you can take include:
- Becoming a Mother Friendly Worksite to encourage mothers to breastfeed or express milk at work
- Becoming a Text4baby outreach partner and encouraging the businesses with which you work to become partners as well. Text4baby is a free text messaging service for pregnant women and mothers. They receive messages in English or Spanish about their developing baby. Outreach Partners sign up with Text4Baby and promote the service by ordering free posters and other material. Learn more here.
- Encouraging walking in the course of work functions and 15-minute daily walking breaks
- Providing healthy snacks and foods in vending machines and cafeterias
- Offering parental leave for both parents
- Working with pregnant employees to see if there are any accommodations that may be needed during their pregnancies and after their return to work
- Making male employees aware of their ability to take paternal leave under FMLA protections and the benefits of doing so
- Enforcing no-smoking policies
- Offering smoking cessation programs
- Sponsoring onsite health and wellness seminars
- Providing fitness facilities onsite, or subsidizing gym memberships
Visit the CDC site on Reproductive Health and the Workplace for more info.
National Business Group on Health
Employers have many incentives but also face many challenges in the development of a healthy workforce. The National Business Group on Health helps employers meet these challenges.
Read about the Business Case for Promoting Healthy Pregnancy.
Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program
An employer may be designated as a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite if it offers a written employee policy that support so that mothers may express and store breastmilk during the workday.
Businesses that support moms who choose to breastfeed experience improved employee morale, increased employee retention, lower absenteeism and reduced health care costs.
FMLA and Women’s Health
The Department of Labor FAQ page about women’s health is where employers and employees can learn about the protections that apply to leave for maternity and paternity.
Caregiver Best Practices
This document developed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides examples of best practices for employers. These go beyond federal nondiscrimination requirements and are designed to remove barriers to equal employment opportunity.