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Employers At Losing End of Childcare Challenges

The two areas that impacted the full participation of women and men in the workplace were childcare responsibilities and domestic and sexual violence.
23 Jan 2020 11:54
Employers At Losing End of Childcare Challenges
From left: Leadership Fiji's Sharyne Fong, International Finance Corporation project co-ordinator gender programme-Fiji Lilika Fusimalohi and Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association chief executive officer Fantasha Lockington on January 22, 2020. Photo: International Finance Corporation

Employers lose $1000 for each employee in a year affected by childcare challenges, the World Bank Group revealed yesterday.

Senior Private Sector specialist Henry Sanday said the costs were likely to be higher.

Speaking at a joint breakfast between the Fiji Human Resources Institute and the International Finance Corporation, he said two areas were identified as impacting the full participation of women and men in the workplace .

The two areas that impacted the full participation of women and men in the workplace were childcare responsibilities and domestic and sexual violence, Mr Sanday said.

“Employers in Fiji are losing an average of 12. 7 work days per employee due to parents juggling their responsibilities at work and at home,” he said.

“This is not about companies including childcare as part of their corporate social responsibility.

“It’s about companies supporting childcare because it’s good for their bottom line and it makes good business sense.”

Supportive workplace

Mr Sanday said IFC’s other study – the Business Case of Workplace Responses to Domestic and Sexual Violence, showed that each year, the equivalent of just under 10 work days were lost per employee.

The loss, whether linked to violence or otherwise , were because employees felt distracted , tired or unwell, he said.

Mr Sanday said other factors impacting loss of performance were associated with being late to work, absent or helping others to respond to domestic or sexual violence.

“There is a compelling business case for employers to invest in supporting working parents and workplace

responses to domestic and sexual violence. ”

Mr Sanday said creating supportive workplaces for women and men was not only the right thing to do, it was the smart thing to do.

“In IFC, we leverage the business case to advance gender equality not only as a social and moral imperative- but also as an economic necessity.”

He said gender gaps represented real costs to the economy, which translated into trillions of dollars.

“The World Economic Forum estimated it would take over 200 years to close the economic gender gap – that’s why it’s important to tackle this issue.”

There was growing recognition among companies to gain greater competitive advantage and improve profits by targeting women as employees, entrepreneurs, consumers and business leaders, he said.

“There ‘s a demonstrated appetite and growing interest among businesses in Fiji to tackle the issues of domestic and sexual violence and childcare.”

“It is about finding solutions for the workplace.”

Mr Sanday said 10 companies had signed up for the Rakorako initiative.

FHRI president Kameli Batiweti said Fiji was among the most gender unequal countries in the world in women’s economic participation,

ranking 106 out of 149 countries on the World Economic Forum ‘s 2018 Gender Gap Index.

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj

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