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UAE Companies urged to take up parent-supporting work culture

Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority launched the second cycle of the Parent-friendly Label (PFL) programme that allows organisations in the country, the opportunity to be recognised for their commitment to a supportive work culture and policies for employees who are parents of children ages 0-8 years old.

The initiative aims to empower the early childhood sector and to provide the best opportunities for development and prosperity for all children.

“The UAE is steadily moving towards a more sustainable, growth-driven future in all walks of life and investing in early childhood care opportunities and enabling parents to contribute to building conscious and responsible generations that achieve harmony in line with the priorities of our wise leadership,” said Sheikh Theyab during the launch of the program in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

He emphasized that as a voluntary workplace award programme, the Parent-friendly Label, reflects the leadership’s keenness to achieve a balance between work, family and care for young children.

Achieving this balance provides a social tool with a major and vital role in providing a positive environment that is supportive for children and compassionate towards parents’ needs. The programme encourages and supports UAE-based organisations to work toward the goals of the UAE’s early childhood development sector and the country’s overall growth.

“The programme seeks to enhance the sense of social responsibility in organizations, and to contribute to the establishment of an innovative organisational culture that supports parents and enables them to set a general framework for the upbringing of their children in accordance with the best practices related to childcare,” said Sheikh Theyab.

“The success of the first cycle of the programme has inspired us to roll it out on a national scale to create policies and frameworks that support parents, enhance those parents’ role in providing comprehensive care for their children.”

The second cycle of the Parent-friendly Label programme will give all organisations across the country the opportunity to apply for the Label and it will also focus on the private education sector.

The criteria required to be met have been updated to be in line with the nature of the sector across the UAE.

How to participate in Parent-friendly Label

All organisations that adopt policies that support parents can apply to earn the Parent-friendly Label (PFL) in its new cycle. Applicants can either earn PFL (level 1), which challenges them to go above and beyond what the law requires OR PFL+ (level 2), which meets or exceeds global best practices. The Label is valid for two years, with an annual check-in after one year.

This year’s programme builds on the successes of the first cycle that was implemented at the level of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The Parent-friendly Label was designed in cooperation with and with active contributions from a variety of leading national organizations in the UAE and further refined based on suggestions received from participants in the first cycle.

The programme provides a set of standards that employers can apply within their internal culture and adopt to provide a supportive work environment for parents. The Parent-friendly Label criteria have been updated to reflect the most recent amendments to the UAE Labour Law.

All applications will be independently evaluated by an independent judging panel to ensure objectivity and transparency in the review and evaluation of applications.

Parent-friendly policies include support for working parents, an understanding of family needs, measures to welcome new parents, and increased maternity or paternity leaves and breastfeeding hours, along with other innovative programs encouraged by the Authority.

The first cycle of the programme resulted in more than 20,000 employees being engaged and more than 6,600 children being positively impacted.