Supporting Working Parents: A Smart Business Strategy

By on July 2, 2024

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Supporting working parents is more than just the right thing to do—it’s a strategic business decision. Let's explore the importance of supporting working parents and the tangible benefits it brings to businesses with key insights from our webinar “How HR Leaders Can Unlock the Power and ROI of Parental Support Programs" with industry expert Kortney Ross.

Legal Compliance: The Foundation

Compliance with the PWFA and the Pump Act is the bottom floor of supporting working parents in your organization. These laws ensure that pregnant and lactating employees receive necessary accommodations, such as reasonable break times and private spaces for pumping, protecting both the employees and the business from legal issues.

Why is this important? Changing workforce dynamics: There are more women working during pregnancy than ever before, and workplace policies must evolve accordingly.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)

The PWFA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees and applicants affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, as long as it doesn’t cause undue hardship on the business. These accommodations can include more frequent breaks, seating, and modified work schedules. The goal is to ensure that pregnant employees are not forced to choose between their health and their jobs.

The Pump Act

The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act mandates that employers provide reasonable break time and a private, non-bathroom space for lactating employees to express breast milk. This law applies for up to one year after the child’s birth. The PUMP Act ensures that nursing mothers can continue to breastfeed even after returning to work, promoting both maternal and child health.

It's important to note that there is a real cost to businesses for non-compliance. Replacing employees who quit due to lack of support can cost 6-9 months of their salary. Discrimination claims also result in significant legal fees.

Enhanced Support Strategies for Working Parents

Going beyond basic compliance can significantly benefit businesses by enhancing employee satisfaction, improving retention, and attracting top talent. A few resources to consider offering include:

1. Lactation Support: The Pump Act mandates reasonable break times and clean, private spaces for pumping. Providing functional, private lactation spaces is crucial.

2. Employee Resource Groups: Creating groups for parents to connect and share resources fosters a supportive community.

3. Flexible Policies: Implementing flexible work policies accommodates the unique needs of working parents.

ROI of Supporting Working Parents

Investing in family-friendly benefits for working parents yields substantial returns. Companies that provide robust support for working parents, including compliance with the PWFA and Pump Act, see the following significant improvements in their workforce:

1. Healthcare Savings: Companies with lactation support programs save significantly on healthcare costs. A study by Cigna showed $240,000 in annual savings and fewer prescriptions.

2. Reduced Absenteeism: Breastfeeding support reduces absenteeism. Mothers of breastfed babies miss work less often, leading to additional savings.

3. Improved Retention: Strong parental support programs increase retention rates. For instance, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power saw significant improvements in employee satisfaction and retention.

Additionally, these companies attract top talent, enhancing their reputation as family-friendly workplaces. Ultimately, supporting working parents leads to a more engaged, loyal, and productive workforce, driving long-term business success.


Supporting working parents is not just a moral obligation. It’s a strategic business decision. By providing necessary support and accommodations, companies can improve employee satisfaction, reduce costs, and enhance their reputation as family-friendly employers.

For more insights and resources, check out our free webinar resources from "How HR Leaders Can Unlock the Power and ROI of Parental Support Programs."


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