Wednesday, June 04, 2008

should caregiving be prioritized over a really good gig?

I like this article on workplace flexibility because it includes the suggestion that flexibility should be available to ALL employees. Reasonable work schedules are often only provided to workers who have an "excuse" for needing them. Even though I have only benefited from such arrangements- my hours were reduced at PRA during my pregnancy, and I had increased flexibility at the UW because I had an infant- I see it as inherently unfair to those who either work out more dependable child care coverage (having a parent home full-time; expensive day care) or who dote on their dogs rather than their children*.

In some countries employees may refuse overtime if it interferes with their child care needs. Honestly, I think ANY employee should be allowed to refuse- if someone doesn't want to work because they'd rather play rugby, an employer shouldn't be able to prevent that. The employer can instead sweeten the deal with enough incentives to get employees to work more voluntarily. There's a reason that industries that require overtime need to pay well.

No one else at PRA was able to chop two hours off their work day just because they felt like it, yet business proceeded as usual without my presence. (Really, it was to their benefit- I did the same amount of work for 20% less pay.) I wonder why the East Coast is so much less open to the freedom and flexibility part-time work offers both employee AND employer than the West Coast.

(Another cool thing from the article: an EU directive requires part-time workers' salaries and benefits to be the pro-rated equivalent of full-time workers' salaries. Wow. Something the article didn't mention: how important socialized medicine is to any of these options.)

* Dan did in fact call in to work once because Paco was sick. And he didn't even lie about it. But I doubt most people can get away with that.

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