The problem with children is that they need care. First, you have to take time off to actually birth and bond with them, and then, even when you've secured daycare or the kids are in school, things happen and you have to scramble. (A "snow day" for schools won't necessarily result in your job being closed, but there goes your childcare.) And if you're in the "sandwich generation" you're taking care of children at the same time you're taking care of elderly parents, having reliable care can be even more difficult.
And when you have all these outside responsibilities, holding down a job becomes difficult. Target decided to step up and help out their employees--and while this might seem to be something done out of pure compassion--the reality is turnover is expensive. Even turnover among part-time cashiers is expensive. You have to recruit and train every new hire and you lose the institutional knowledge of the last employee.
Target announced they were expanding their family benefits. They said (emphasis theirs):
Our team members are at the heart of Target's success, so supporting what's near and dear to their hearts--their families--is of the utmost importance. Our workforce, like the communities we serve, is multigenerational, and our team members face growing caregiving responsibilities including infants, children, spouses, domestic partners and aging parents.
To help meet their needs, we're enhancing several of the benefits we offer our hourly workforce--including part-time team members--and salaried team members at our stores, distribution centers and U.S. headquarters. These family-focused enhancements pick up where traditional parental leave policies end, so our team members can support their families for years to come.
Target's new policies branch into an almost unheard of area of benefits--part-time employees. These policies provide paid parental leave, back up child care, and adoption and surrogacy benefits.
Like or not, but women make up the majority of people affected by childcare and eldercare problems, and, of course, they are the ones giving birth. If you want to attract more women and keep them onboard, helping them with these responsibilities will only serve to help you. It also, of course, helps fathers and the elder care and spouse/domestic partner provisions help just about everyone.
If you are looking or a way to increase your employee satisfaction, cut down on absenteeism, and make your business a better place to work--take a look at Target. They have the right idea when it comes to making a family-friendly environment.