Family-friendly workplace benefits (flex time, job sharing, telecommuting, and so on) were on the rise before the recession of 2008 took hold. I've been wondering recently how bad a whacking this category of benefits has taken. Of course, most surveys find companies cutting family-friendly benefits, just like all other benefits, in economic down times. If you were a manager, would you rather lose a person or cut that person's benefits? It's a rather easy decision.
But family-friendly benefits, unlike health insurance or vacation pay or pensions, don't necessarily cost companies money. In fact, in many cases they may save them money. So the question as we emerge from this recession is, once rehiring starts taking place, whether in 2010 or beyond, will flex time be more or less available? The answer is, it will be more available, but not, perhaps, in the way it is desired. Some studies are showing part-time and temporary contract work may be the norm rather than the exception as companies start rehiring in a big way. According to
A recent study by
Some workplace experts don't see that as such a bad thing.
Longer work weeks and the disappearance of flex time have been particularly tough on women. Men have been disproportionately clobbered by layoffs in the current crisis, and women have had no choice but to pick up the slack.
From 2004 to 2009 there was a 28 percent increase in the number of professional women with nonworking husbands (unemployed or retired), according to a new survey done by the
What is more, the percentage of full-time working women who out-earn their husbands has reached 39 percent. A central problem, of course, is that as more wives and mothers step into the prime breadwinning role, they continue to shoulder a disproportionate load of domestic responsibility.
I wish I were as jovial about these changes as Ms. Hewlett. First, while they may still allow some part-time high income workers to work part time and earn a reasonable income, they won't help low-income workers at all. She closes by adding:
When a 35-year-old high-performing woman who happens to be a new mother can scale back to a four-day week and be honored for that choice rather than being written off, we're on our way to a different future.
I read her close and said, "Wait a minute!!" I'd rephrase her close to say, "When a 35-year-old high-performing employee who happens to be a new parent can scale back to a four-day week and be honored for that choice rather than being written off, we're on our way to a different future." If only new mothers make that choice, those mothers will never achieve parity in corporations. If men start making those choices in equal numbers, that's a different story AND a different future.
Six Ways to Survive Illness on the Job
Joyce Lain Kennedy
I could have an unpredictable but potentially debilitating illness that may or may not cause me to miss a fair number of workdays in the years ahead. Retiring is not realistic at this time. Will the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protect my job?
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