Organisations that offer sufficient parental leave and breastfeeding hours, among 17 other criteria, are considered for the Parent-Friendly label Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The Parent-Friendly Label Programme supporting parents of young children in the workplace has entered its third edition on the back of a successful second cycle, the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) has announced.

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ECA said Cycle 2 positively impacted 127,000 employees (of whom 67,000 are parents), 48,000 children aged up to eight years, including around 1,500 children of determination.

As many as 75 organisations from 23 industries had applied to earn the Label. Educational institutions formed the highest group of applicants at 19 per cent, followed by professional services institutions at 15 per cent, and financial institutions and banks at eight per cent.

The Programme, which was first launched in 2021, invites applicants from semi-governmental, private and third sector organisations that have been operating for at least two years in the UAE. To obtain the Parent-Friendly label, organisations can adopt a set of 19 criteria for their Parent Friendly policies, practices and culture.

Running from February 27 to September 2, organisations can apply in the latest cycle for the Label for free, based on the criteria of the programme.

What is considered Parent-Friendly?

ECA Director-General Sanaa Mohamed Suhail said: “The Parent-Friendly Label programme aims to encourage more parent-friendly workplaces, which are those that support working parents, understand family needs, actively welcome back new parents, offer sufficient parental leave and breastfeeding hours and offer a work culture aligned with this.”

She added: “These workplaces have a role in ensuring that all children have access to the best opportunities for care and development. This commitment extends to providing suitable services and resources for parents, children, and caregivers to ensure optimal child development.”

The director-general said there has been “a notable increase” in the number of applicants to earn the Label and the level of interest from the private sector has grown.

In the coming weeks, the ECA will spotlight the organisations that have earned the Label through the implementation of supportive policies and innovative practices.

A series of educational webinars will be held on March 5 and 26, April 23, May 21, and June 18, 2024, to raise awareness about the application process, the criteria and the benefits of applying.

Two levels of achievements

Organisations can be recognised on one of two tiers of achievement - the first tier (PFL) is for workplaces that exceed local requirements and standards, while the second tier (PFL+) is for workplaces that meet or exceed leading global practices.

The Label is valid for two years, with a check-in with the organisation after the first year. All applicants undergo an impartial evaluation by an independent judging panel, made up of senior leaders from each of the emirates.