November 28, 2023 - by Sarah Waldrip

“Myself being a parent, and knowing that there are lots of parents at CSCS, a good family-work-life balance means that we can take time off and be present with the family, with the children, when we need to, and where we can live the role of a parent or partner to the fullest,” said Stephanie Frequente, CSCS HR Partner at CSCS headquarters in Lugano.

Frequente has spent the last year working alongside Raluca Hodoroaba, Training and Community Engagement Officer at the CSCS offices in Zurich, to build just such a culture of family support. Now, with financial support from ETH Vice-Presidency for Personnel Development and Leadership (VPPL), they are taking the initiative one concrete step further in January 2024 with the launch of a new daycare benefit program that will support parents working in Lugano to choose any nursery in the region of Ticino for their children.

“We already have a nursery care partner on the ground floor of one of our office buildings in Lugano,” said Hodoroaba, “but the problem was that the spaces are limited. Thankfully, we found a solution so we would financially support all families with children needing nursery care in Ticino.”

This expanding daycare support is part of a larger support system in the centre. ETH VPPL already offers 20 days of paternity leave for new fathers — of which there are many lately, Frequente happily reports. The centre also provides support during emergencies, so a parent will have the opportunity to ask for qualified care services to look after a sick child at home when a work conflict is unavoidable.

Frequente feels that this shift in attitude about family priorities has been positive for individuals as well as for the peer relationships in the workplace.

“It is very important that employees not only have the possibility to take this time off and participate in what they feel is important for them and for the family,” she said, “but there is also the culture of those around it — that the colleagues are understanding of this, that it is normal, and you know that you have their empathy and acceptance.

“We also offer three weeks of summer camp for employees in Ticino, paid by CSCS through ETH VPPL funds, because the summer in Ticino is ten weeks for children. This can be a challenge for parents,” Frequente added. 

With these initiatives now underway, Frequente and Hodoroaba are already considering what else could be improved. “We are always looking forward, but we will see what comes next as the children grow,” said Hodoroaba. “We are happy to see lots of new moms and dads at CSCS, and we are very passionate about offering a wide and flexible range of services to our employees with children”.