Deloitte: Poland enters the phase of economic expansion

The divergence of economic moods in Poland...

Two Years On: War in Ukraine and Its Global Impact

On February 24, 2022, a full-scale Russian...

Polish Firms Open to Hiring Mothers After Leave (48%)

CAREERSPolish Firms Open to Hiring Mothers After Leave (48%)

Almost half of companies (48 percent) declare that they are prepared to hire or continue working with a mother returning to work after a long break, according to a study by Grypy Progres. More and more businesses are also taking gender equality issues seriously and implementing specific measures in this area. Over half – 54 percent – have recently introduced or modified codes of ethics and programs dedicated to the equal treatment of women and men.

In 2023, almost 8 million women were professionally active in the Polish labor market, with an average of over 233 thousand identified as unemployed. In just the fourth quarter of 2023, 88 thousand unemployed women got back to work after a break. As many as 764 thousand linked their unemployment to family commitments and domestic responsibilities (GUS). Private life and childcare duties take up a lot of time and can indeed make not only finding work but also daily professional activities more difficult. In January 2024, 221 thousand individuals collected maternity benefits in Poland, and the total number of benefit days amounted to 6.688 million (ZUS data). The number was also high for care benefits, totaling 1.311 million days.

While balancing private and professional life is not easy, women manage it very well. Moreover, they dedicate almost as much time to fulfilling their work duties as men do. Data from GUS shows that while men work an average of 41.1 hours a week, women work 38.1 hours. Unfortunately, the stereotype that a woman will not be as efficient an employee as other candidates is still prevalent.

– Fortunately, many companies think very differently and actively help women return to work or develop professionally. It’s a great sign of change that unfortunately took too long to come. However, it is good that it has already happened and that more and more organizations are implementing female-friendly solutions. According to the Grypy Progres survey, almost half of the companies – 48 percent – declare they are ready to hire or continue working with a mother returning to work after a long break – says Magda Dąbrowska, Vice President of Grypy Progres. – Moreover, as many as 54 percent of organizations have recently implemented or modified codes of ethics and solutions dedicated to the equal treatment of women and men, also supporting professionally active parents. This group, despite a decrease in the birth rate, is numerous, and it is worth caring for – in 2023, 272 thousand children were born – adds Magda Dąbrowska.

The basic and most common forms of support offered by companies include life insurance and medical care for employees, with the option to extend the package to their families, the possibility of working from home, flexible working hours, or part-time employment.

38 percent of companies provide substantive support – in returning to work after maternity, parental, or childcare leave – in the form of a specially designed training program. Some employers acknowledge that they understand the challenges of balancing parenthood and work, coping with time management and emotional turmoil, and therefore finance psychological consultations with specialists in parenthood issues as part of a special program.

– The actions and solutions being implemented in Polish companies show how many employers in our country are socially responsible in their business activities and have matured to fully respect the rights of women who were often marginalized or stereotyped. Fortunately, observed changes prove that employers not only declare, but genuinely care for women to develop their careers, and also to start a family and spend time on it without fearing job loss – says Maciej Owczarek, Vice President of Business Centre Club. – Understanding by superiors the challenges of balancing parenthood and employee roles as well as time management or emotional support should be treated as an investment rather than an expense. It quickly yields the effect of engaged employees, increased performance, and reduced staff turnover. It can also help build or strengthen a positive employer image, which could benefit the company in both short and long term perspective – emphasizes Maciej Owczarek.

Some employers go a step further – 40 percent of companies declare that they support parents, including single parents. They can receive contributions to the cost of kindergartens or nurseries, and even a nanny. Other forms of financial support consist of gifts for the newborn, covering the cost of summer camp or a school starter kit.

Additional benefits offered include extra days off, e.g. additional child leave after normal allowance is used up, or time off from work obligations on global family day. Companies also organize events dedicated to their employee parents and their children e.g. picnics, Children’s Day, St. Nicholas’ Day. They are also understanding during ’emergency’ situations and allow employees to bring their children into work.

Assistance does not always come in the form of increased pay or bonuses. Often, it also takes different, non-wage forms. Superiors offer not only standard benefits. According to a SeniorApp study, bosses pay for groceries, meditation classes, cleaning the house, and even for helping their employees’ parents if they need assistance. Many organizations are starting to care for the private life and family time of their employees. A superior’s care does not start at the office at 8 a.m. and end at 3 p.m., it increasingly extends to employees’ homes. So far, employees had to take care of their private matters. Nowadays, household chores are taken care of by their company, or more exactly, a service provider paid by the employer to carry out an action chosen by the employee. Moreover, if professional duties require staying away from home longer than usual or at unusual hours, the boss arranges a nanny for the child or takes care of the pets during that time.

– Polish business relies heavily on the professional activity of women, who, equally with men, engage in the development of national organizations. Diversity is a great strength of businesses, and gender balance in teams and company management translates into improved financial results, innovation, and growth. Pro-family policies and support for women in their development and return to work after childbirth are very important. However, not every mother needs the same level of support. Therefore, to help wisely, it is best to plan such an action well and tailor it to specific, individual needs, rather than lump everyone together. Also, men who have become fathers should not be excluded from these programs. They also require various forms of support to engage in family life and relieve their partners of childcare – emphasizes Maciej Owczarek, Vice President of Business Centre Club.

Magda Dąbrowska, Vice President of Grypy Progres, adds that the change in approach of Polish companies, which are beginning to favor pro-women and pro-family policies, is not only important but necessary from a gender equality and discrimination perspective. Providing substantive and emotional support for women returning to work after maternity or childcare leave not only helps them adapt more quickly and easily to work duties but also balances the professional opportunities for women and men. Such action improves the atmosphere in the workplace and creates a friendlier environment for all employees, regardless of gender. It is also necessary, even though the number of complaints to the Labor Inspection Office concerns violations of laws on employees’ parenting rights. There were 249 in 2020, 241 in 2021, and 243 in 2022.

Check out our other content
Related Articles
The Latest Articles