Parenting in the Workplace
- Mary Secret
Document type: Encyclopedia Entry
Appears in: Work and Family Encyclopedia
- Dependent Care
- Work and Family
- Social Work
Parenting in the workplace (PIW) is a childcare arrangement whereby employees directly care for their children at their workplaces while simultaneously attending to their routine job duties (Secret, 2005). The presence of children in workplaces is not new (Axinn & Levin, 1997; Qvortrup, 1985). However, in contrast to the historical manifestation of the phenomena where children labored as workers alongside adults in factories or fields, parenting in the workplace (also known as workplace parenting) describes various types of childcare arrangements whereby children‟s basic needs are met at the workplace by parents who are also carrying out their paid work responsibilities. In other words, employees who parent in the workplace manage and respond to the demands and responsibilities of both their children and their employer at the same time. In contrast to other types of workplace-sponsored childcare, such as on-site childcare, in the PIW childcare options, the children remain at the worksite with their parents who retain sole responsibility for their care and supervision during the workday. This encyclopedia entry describes what is known about the nature and frequency of PIW childcare experiences within some of the businesses where it has been allowed and provides an organizational perspective on the benefits and liabilities of the practice. The entry also discusses parenting in the workplace as a childcare option that permeates work-family boundaries and considers what this more integrated approach to work and family might mean for employees, their families and children.