Proactive employers explain ways to be child-friendly to employees

Can you call a car service to fetch some cat food on those days when your kid is sick, a report is due and your cell phone is on the fritz?

If it sounds too good to be true, perhaps you need a tour through some of the child-friendly employment options available in the Okanagan Valley.

Friday afternoon at the CATCH Coalition’s annual meet-and-greet networking session everyone from the mayor of Kelowna to the board of education chairman got to hear just how proactive some employers have become to attract and retain employees who are also parents.

“We realize we have a high place in the community and we feel responsibility for that,” said KPMG employee Derek Saunders, who described his firm’s family-focused policies as “giving back to the community.”

While not every employer can afford KPMG’s concierge service or the $20,000 stipend to help pay for adoption costs, every business can keep children and families in mind according to small business owner Angela O’Brien, who co-owns Esteem Lingerie in West Kelowna.

After finding herself pregnant shortly after taking on the business, O’Brien said she had to return to work with an infant and has consequently converted her entire workplace to suit children’s needs. Although she admits it took some time to figure out how to do so.

“Unfortunately, in the lingerie boutique industry the norm is, children 18 and under need not enter the shop,” she said.

O’Brien and her mother noticed that standard has created a young adult clientele who are not respectful, and ultimately uncomfortable, when they enter their store.

So they added a children’s play area, installed some child-friendly rules and regulations and set about trying to ensure kids are welcome and know how to behave in a store environment so they do not behave in the same manner when they are teenagers.

The Community Action Toward Children’s Health has been in operation for eight years, finding unique ways to ensure the Okanagan is child and family friendly.

Over the afternoon session they told participants they will release their third annual State of the Child report this fall and have just launched a new web site with more resources for parents.

They are looking to find a permanent guest blogger for the site and have connected it to a variety of blogs and resources in the area.

For more on the non-profit organization and the information they provide, go to www.catchcoalition.ca.

The annual State of the Child report will be released on Nov. 19.

jsmith@kelownacapnews.com

 
 
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