Kate Middleton urges employers to support parents and caregivers to balance working life

The Princess of Wales has urged employers to prioritise wellbeing in the workplace to support family life and said they have an important role in helping parents balance a successful working life with a nurturing home life for their children.

Kate Middleton launched her Business Taskforce for Early Childhood this week and is encouraging business leaders to support parents and caregivers.

Writing in FT Weekend, the future Queen said investing in early childhood is “a down payment for our collective future”.

Kate is hoping global firms who have joined her taskforce will be the catalyst for change and encourage firms across the country to train and help staff to maintain their social and emotional welfare, aiding their work and home life.

In her article for FT, the mother-of-three said: “Our resilience, flexibility, ability to manage stress and remain motivated when facing challenges, are all shaped by the foundations we build in early childhood.

“However, not enough emphasis is placed on social and emotional development or on building environments which nurture these skills, during childhood and beyond.

“Parental wellbeing is the biggest single factor in determining a child’s wellbeing, and we know that becoming a parent places additional pressure on mental health. Nearly 75 per cent of people find parenting under-fives stressful.

“We also know that parents make up a significant part of the UK workforce — 76 per cent of mothers and 92 per cent of fathers with children are in work. We must recognise the challenge for many of these parents, and other caregivers, in balancing a successful working life with a nurturing home life during their children’s formative years.

“Employers have an important role in making that possible.”

Kate said she believes two things need to be done.

The Princess of Wales (Chris Jackson/PA) (PA Wire)
The Princess of Wales (Chris Jackson/PA) (PA Wire)

“The first is to prioritise creating working environments that provide the support people need to cultivate and maintain their own social and emotional wellbeing.

“The second is a more concentrated focus on the social and emotional development of our youngest children,” she said.

Concluding her article, the princess said: “So, over the coming months, the taskforce will look at the opportunity to put the early years at the heart of delivering the ‘social’ element.

“While great work is being done by individual businesses, by being more co-ordinated across business and commerce, our impact could be far reaching. As the world becomes ever more complex, we have to invest in early childhood now, as a down payment for our collective future.

“If business and commerce embrace this significant issue — including how better early childhoods will affect their own organisations both now and in the long term — we can and will transform lives for generations to come.”

Earlier this week, Kate joined the inaugural meeting of the taskforce, whose members include Unilever, Ikea, NatWest and Lego, an initiative which follows the launch of her Shaping Us project, described as her “life’s work” and aimed at raising the profile of youngsters’ early years development.