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Citi supports workers with key work-life balance programme

 April 30, 2013

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After the birth of her first child, Marissa Antolin asked her manager at Citi if she could work from home one day a week to save time on the long commute from her home to the office in New York.

Her bid was successful because Citi, the third-biggest U.S. bank by assets, weaves flexibility into its everyday operations, recognising a growing number of employees need to balance the responsibilities of work and personal life.

Antolin is one of a growing number of mothers who make the choice to keep working while raising a family.

Nearly one in three mothers last year in the United States said they would prefer a full-time job - up from one in five in 2007, says a new report from the Pew Research Centre in Washington.

Among mothers with children under age 18, the number saying they would prefer to work full time increased 20 percent from before the economic downturn in 2007 to 32 percent in 2012, it said.

“A lot has changed for women and men in the 50 years since Betty Friedan wrote ‘The Feminine Mystique’,” the report said, referring to the non-fiction book published in 1963 that ignited feminist debate in the United States.

“But with these changes have come the added pressures of balancing work and family life, for mothers and fathers alike.”

In 2011, mothers spent on average 21 hours a week on paid work  -- a big increase from eight hours a week in 1965, the report said.

Fathers are doing more housework and child care and mothers more paid work outside the home, according to the study.

At Citi,  flexible work plans offer employees and managers the chance to meet personal and business needs with schedules that allow alternatives to customary business hours or locations.

As well as maternity leave and workshops for mothers, Citi also offers new fathers two weeks of paternity leave and workshops.

“The workshops focus on exploring fatherhood, managing energy levels, exploring unconscious bias and providing information on policies and benefits,” Citi says. 

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