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Family Forward Guidebook

Our goal is to provide support and resources for businesses to understand and enact policies that contribute to a robust and healthy workforce including working parents. The Family Forward Guidebook details research-informed benefits that positively impact child health and well-being and provide a positive return on investment for employers. Not all policies within the guide are right for every employer, however, the variety of options provides something for every business. We encourage human resource professionals, business owners, CEOs, and employees to use the guide as a reference to start or continue a conversation or action within your organization. 


The Case for Family-Friendly Workplaces:

Business Smart

Family-friendly workplaces have a competitive advantage. They attract and retain more top talent, and their employees are more productive and more committed. Additionally, family-friendly employers benefit from reduced employee health care costs, a healthier work environment and fewer employee absences. Research analyzing a wide variety of long-term life outcomes, such as health, crime, income, IQ, schooling, and the increase in a mother’s income after returning to work due to childcare, finds 13% ROI for comprehensive, high-quality, birth-to-five early education.

Family Friendly

For children and families, the benefits of family-friendly workplaces are numerous and long lasting. They include positive impacts on health, development and well-being, financial stability, and future career success. Children whose parents have access to family-friendly benefits receive much-needed support and time with their parents during the most critical years of human development. This leads to positive health outcomes, higher education attainment and future success. Parents who have access to family-friendly benefits also have improved health, are happier and more productive at work, and are less likely to leave the workforce.

Future Ready

To prepare our future workforce for success, we must start in early childhood. During children’s earliest years, their experiences are built into their bodies – shaping the brain’s architecture and creating the foundation for future learning and health. The early years are so defining that by the time a child turns eight, their third grade reading outcomes can predict future academic achievement and career success. Decades of research have established what children need to build strong brains – health and development on track from birth, supportive and supported families and communities, and high-quality birth through age eight learning environments with regular attendance.


Family Forward Policies:

Each sample policy in this guide is described in detail with supporting benefits identified for employers, children, and employee/parents.



Colorado FMLA
Colorado HFWA
Unpaid Parental Leave
Paid Parental Leave
Paid Family and Medical Leave
Paid Time Off (PTO)
Sick & Safe Leave
Parental Involvement Leave

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Flexible Work & Scheduling 

Flex Time/Compressed Work Schedule
Work from Home/Telecommute
Job Share/Part-Time Work 
Predictable Scheduling

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Health & Wellness Benefits

Health Insurance and Wellness Benefits
Flexible Spending Accounts
Health Savings Accounts

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Workplace Accommodations & Support

Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers Act
Support for Breastfeeding Mothers
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
Pregnant Worker Accommodations
Babies at Work 

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Backup or Emergency Care
Subsidized/Reimbursed Childcare or Childcare Referral

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This work was inspired by and developed in partnership with Family Forward North Carolina.

Additional information can be found at