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5 steps to establish equality in your startup

Sandra Runge, lawyer and founder of Coworking Toddler, calls founders and politics to action

“I sometimes have the impression that football is more important than childcare or the carework of parents”, criticizes Sandra Runge, lawyer and blogger for more parental rights. While soccer players are already back in the game, families suffer from child care just slowly reopening their doors. 

Especially mothers who unfortunately still have to do most of the care work for families suffer particularly from this burden. “This is kind of a really catastrophic situation”, she argues.

But there’s hope, since startups in her view have a less hard time to adjust to the current situation and were “very well prepared for the crisis” because they are more used to home office while big companies struggle a lot with setting up the right framework to let parents easily combine work and family.

“Employers must help employees, and especially parents, that work conditions change now at the moment”, says the lawyer. Here are 5 steps every founder can do to enable more parental equality:

1. Gather detailed knowledge about the applicable legal regulations for the protection of mothers and fathers.

2. Continuous communication at eye level, especially regarding re-entry after parental leave, is a demand to let employees become a productive part of the workforce again. 

3. Openness to flexible working models, meaning flexible working hours, part-time work, flexible place of work should be considered. Also on trial if reservations exist.

4. The startup management should understand and support parents in case of special challenges, ie. sick children or family members, day-care centre closing times.

5. Introducing family-friendly meeting times, meaning no dinner time meetings or calls.

But, as Runge points out, it is not only about individual companies. Also politics is required to accelerate change. “Politics have a high responsibility to change, to bring on new laws that help and support parents”, emphasizes the expert on maternal, parental and child rights. 

Learn more about parental support for the state here.

Overall, two aspects are important when thinking of adequately helping parents in this situation: Firstly, “it is very important not to forget the parents in these really crazy times” according to Runge. And secondly, it is important not to forget what parents really need at the moment.