The arrival of a baby massively impacts the personal and thus the professional life of employees. This new life-chapter most often has consequences, specifically, on women's careers. To help young parents navigate this period, Agily is committed issues around parenthood by putting in place the most practical of solutions: childcare.

A newborn brings many new challenges at all levels. To support parents of infants and preschoolers, companies can rethink work day organisation. This can be done by providing more flexible working hours, or better, by offering a company childcare service solution adapted to the needs of each parent.

Why has this issue become a top priority for Agily? The statistics are terrifying. Five years after the arrival of a child, on average, women's income from salary decreases by 25%, according to a recent INSEE study. This is often a result of a move to part-time work or no longer being able to compete for promotions, due to the limits imposed by child-raising.

When it comes to the technology industry, half of all women leave their jobs before the age of 35, eight years into their careers, according to the Accenture and Girls Who Code report, published in October 2020. In the survey, the majority of women interviewed pointed to non-inclusive company culture as the cause.

Creating an inclusive workspace

To create an inclusive workspace, we believe it is essential to put our money where our mouth is. Take, Johanna, Head of Design, who joined Agily in May 2022. When her son arrived, the young mother turned to a nanny for child care. At first, this option met all her expectations, but a few months later, the other family who was sharing the nanny moved away. Suddenly, faced with paying the totality of the once shared bill for childcare, she had to find another way to care for her son.

This situation became a nightmare for the family. It is almost impossible to get a place in a public daycare facility, as just under one in two collective crèches (48.6%) is understaffed, according to a survey by the Caisse Nationale d'Allocations Familiales (CNAF) published in July.

When the search was unsuccessful, Johanna decided to talk to her CEO. She knew that with the support of her company, she would become a priority for a place in a childcare facility and benefit from the financial support to opt for a private option where there are more available spots. "I didn't have much hope, but I felt that the company would be receptive," she says. She had already tried at a different workplace, but her previous job said no. Companies are sometimes reluctant because of a lack of information.

Get support

To maximise her chances and make the process easier, Johanna collected the right information and presented her case. To be more efficient, she also chose to be accompanied by an external company, which helps her to identify the feasibility of the project. They also took care of all the administrative procedures. This part can be very difficult for some companies, especially small ones that need more human and financial resources to support this type of project.

With the mediator, once the partnership between the childcare and Agily was established, the process was very quick. After three visits, Johanna chose a structure that met all her needs (proximity to her home, outdoor space and a good feeling with the staff).

For Agily, the experience was also positive. Reserving a bed in a private childcare facility costs €1,800 per month. Note that this amount is tax-deductible. The employee also makes a contribution, which is cheaper than comparative forms of childcare. Other larger organisations can also set up their own company childcare solutions, but in the case of this start-up, which is still growing, this is a first test to move on to more sustainable solutions and to show our commitment to the organisation's parents.

Reducing the mental charge

With this support, Johanna is now more relaxed. By joining a private crèche, she avoided the difficulties associated with the strikes Paris is famous for. In case of illness, the staff are also directly replaced, so she no longer needs to take a day off when the nanny is ill.

Her personal organisation is also more fluid. She no longer has to worry about nappies and baby food during the day. Everything is included, which costs her €200 less than what she was paying for her previous childcare solution. A substantial economy.

Showing great support for parents is a strong indicator of building the foundations of an inclusive working environment for all. It is important to note that this applies to all employees (collective crèches, private crèches, company crèche networks). "I have prepared the ground. If there is another baby in the company, they have the freedom to organise themselves as they wish," explains the young mother.

Retaining talent

At a time of talent shortage, this type of initiative remains an excellent opportunity to retain talent and increase motivation. It is also a great way to attract new candidates to join companies that are committed to the well-being of their employees.

When Johanna returned from maternity leave, she decided to join Agily because she found a culture that matched her values. She wanted a company that understood her new situation and was willing to provide a working environment that met her needs. "I am committed to my work, but it was important to me to be in a company where I could leave on time to pick up my son without receiving questioning comments," she explains.

Flexible hours are given at Agily. Another mother, developer Mathilde Tomba prefers to start her work day at 7.30am so she can finish in the afternoon. This allows her to spend time with her daughter after school. Several employees have different scheduling arrangements, starting or finishing at different times or working remotely on chosen days. This kind of flexibility allows for a better quality of time at home and at work.

Reducing absenteeism

In addition, it is also important to remember that an employee with good access to childcare will be happier and more focused on their tasks. Company childcare can speed up the return to work of parent-employees and reduce absenteeism from work: 30% of absences are explained by the failure of the childcare facility.

To inspire a collective movement and to encourage French companies to get involved, last June French Tech launched the Gender Equality Pact. One of the main aspects concerns how to manage the return from maternity leave, which can be quite traumatic for some women. To go further, the member companies also plan to support parents in their parenthood, setting up private crèches to offer them the possibility of developing their careers while building their family.

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