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Mothers and fathers with young children, working for Panilino bakery company, will be able to return to work more quickly if they want it thanks to the play and leisure area for children that was opened in the company today. The project was developed with the financial and technical support provided by UNFPA and Austria as part of a program that aims at broadening the opportunities for parents in the private sector. 

The launching event of the family-friendly space was attended by the representatives of the Parliament, UNFPA, the Embassy of Austria in the Republic of Moldova, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Panilino’s management, as well as parents employed by the company and their children, including parents on parental leave.

Anastasia was among them, a mother of three children and a human resources specialist at Panilino who returned to work when her child was a month old.

‘The management supported me by providing a flexible remote work arrangement, which helped me succeed in both roles: as a mother and as an employee. A person will be a loyal and productive employee for the company when they know their family needs are met at work and the company management supports the work-life balance’, Anastasia said.

‘80% of Panilino employees are women aged 25-30 years, and 10% are on parental leave until the child reaches the age of three. It is very important for us to create conditions for employees with children to return to work earlier if they want to’, said Sergiu Guzun, Panilino Director.

The playground is a specially designed room on the company’s premises, where children are under the supervision of a qualified person, employed by the company, while parents carry out their job responsibilities. 

Marina MOROZOVA, Member of Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, who attended the event, thanked Panilino for improving the working conditions for employed parents. She also highlighted the support of partners, including UNFPA, in developing family-friendly workplace policies. 

‘Over the past 6 months, we have focused on improving legislation on work-life balance. The next initiative, which will be focused on regulating the alternative childcare services, is a natural extension of recent changes to support families’, the Member of Parliament said.

The initiative is part of the UNFPA Demographic Resilience Programme aiming to support the countries in the region to develop demographic policies and programmes for people to respond to demographic changes, empower women and young couples to have the desired number of children and expand partnerships with the private sector in this regard.

‘We know that families in the Republic of Moldova want to have more children than they actually have. It happens because young families need more opportunities to combine career and family aspirations. Therefore, private sector involvement is essential to support employed parents who have children and want to work. We appreciate the efforts of Panilino in this regard, which is an example of involvement and a model for other companies. You contribute not only to the well-being of the company’s employees but also to the demographic resilience of the whole society in the long run’, said Nigina ABASZADA, UNFPA Resident Representative in Moldova.

The Government, the private sector and external partners joined their efforts to extend the opportunities for women and men to help couples have the desired number of children and achieve their career and personal aspirations.

‘Panilino is a real model in developing friendly working environment for parents, caregivers and employees. We will continue our efforts to strengthen and implement gender-responsive family policies in the private sector together with the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Moldova and UNFPA Moldova’, said Stella AVALLONE, Ambassador of Austria to the Republic of Moldova.

‘We are seeing an increased interest among private sector employers in adopting family-friendly policies. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Moldova, as an implementation partner of this project, expresses its openness to expand family-friendly initiatives at the workplace in as many private companies as possible, members of the CCI’, reiterated Sergiu Harea, the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Moldova. 

Recently, CCI members in the country were informed about the results of the project and the best family-friendly practices at the workplace.

During the event, employees’ children enjoyed several educational and entertaining activities and had the opportunity to become familiar with their leisure area. 

Panilino is one of five champion companies committed to family-friendly workplace policies between 2021 and 2022. In the spring of 2022, as part of a grant competition developed by UNFPA, Panilino received co-financing of USD 5,000 to implement a family-friendly initiative for employees. The company doubled the contribution and created a family-friendly workspace for several months, encouraging employed mothers and fathers to return earlier to work from their parental leave.

Together with champion companies participating in the project, Panilino was guided and trained by UNFPA and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Moldova on how to implement the family-friendly workplace model – from reviewing internal policies and practices to tailoring some spaces and programs for employees that allow women and men to successfully combine family life and work. 

Panilino currently employs 231 people, including 162 women, and 23 men and women are on parental leave and want to return to work as soon as possible.

The ‘Expanding Choices: Gender-Responsive Family Policies for the Private Sector in the Western Balkans and Moldova’ project is implemented by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), with the support of the Austrian Development Agency, in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Moldova.