Tag Archives: Media

How the New Flexible Economy Is Making Workers’ Lives Hell – Huffington Post

US employers are increasingly using ‘just-in-time scheduling’ to meet demands. This involves using up-to-the-minute data to make staffing decisions in real-time, meaning that employers don’t need to pay anyone to be at work unless they’re needed and avoid paying wages to workers unnecessarily:

Employers assign workers tentative shifts, and then notify them a half-hour or ten minutes before the shift is scheduled to begin whether they’re actually needed. Some even require workers to check in by phone, email, or text shortly before the shift starts.

Just-in-time scheduling is one part of the US’s new ‘flexible’ economy and is lauded by business leaders for improving control over costs.

However, it can have a negative impact on employees as steady hours and predictable pay are eroded. As well as affecting individuals’ financially, it also make planning responsibilities such as childcare. ‘Just-in-time’ scheduling and other forms of flexible work ‘businesses more efficient, but it’s a nightmare for working families’.

Read more at The Huffington Post.

Work-life balance and the new stay-at-home parent – Globe & Mail

The issue of whether new mothers should stay at home with their children is a contentious one; some view being at home as vital to their child’s well being and happiness, while others stress the importance of quality, over quantity of, time.

This article profiles several women who have managed to combine the competing demands of work and family life, using flexible working strategies such as remote working and project work.

Read more at The Globe & Mail.

Navigating Tradeoffs in a Dual-Career Marriage – HBR Blog

Dual-earner couples must face a series of negotiations and trade-offs to deal with the competing demands between their work and personal lives, and also between each of their careers. Questions includes those about whose careers will take priority and how domestic labour will be shared. These can be complicated by societal pressures to perform traditional gender roles.

Research shows that, in practice, work is more likely to encroach on personal life than the other way around. It also shows that, over time, the career of the primary breadwinner will take priority.

There are various strategies couples can employ to improve such negotiations. These often rely on utilising flexible working strategies, and have important implications for work-life balance and job satisfaction.

Read more at the Harvard Business Review Blog.

Lauded for putting your family first? You must be a man – The Globe and Mail

This article notes that while successful men are lauded for stepping back from high-paid jobs to have a better work-life balance, the same is not true for women. It suggests that when women leave work for the same reasons it is understood as reflect in the inability of women to ‘have it all’.

The author notes that women “are told they need to push harder, faster and further to get ahead. When men step down, they are heroes; when women step down, they are piteous failures.”

Read more at The Globe and Mail.

Forget flexibility. What working women really want is power – The Guardian

A recent survey of professional women found that just 14% would list ‘work-life balance‘ as a benchmark of success, while 44% wanted job satisfaction and 34% wanted to be able to assume leadership roles and define their company’s direction. It thus suggests that it is ‘not more time that women want, it’s more power’.

The assumption that women want better work-life balance is linked to a kind of ‘benevolent sexism’ wherein women are assumed to be, and to want to be, primary childcare providers. However, this may not be the case. While understanding that the pressures parents face can be important for organisations, it is important that these are not assumed to be women’s issues. Organisations need to approach issues of childcare and work-life balance to allow equal participation of men and women at work and in the home.

Read more at The Guardian.

Why the gap between policy & practice in flexible work is costing women their careers – Women’s Agenda

This article notes that the last five years have seen an increase in policies providing access to flexible work in Australia. However, it points to new research that suggests policies are not being used effectively.

It suggests that the disconnect between the policy and the practice is a result of a lack of awareness among both employees and managers about the how flexible working policies are meant to operate. It notes that mangers, as gatekeepers, are blocking access to flexible work as they lack understanding of how to operationalise policy. Moreover, employee’s lack of awareness as to their entitlements also poses a barrier to access.

Read more on Women’s Agenda.

Family friendly? How the shared parental rules affect you – The Guardian

This article provides an overview of new statutory shared parent leave rules that come into effect in the UK from 5 April. It notes that the rules are designed to challenge assumptions about the role women as the default stay-at-home parent.

New parents will be allowed to split up to 50 weeks off work after having a baby or adopting. The first two weeks has to be for mothers, after which the remaining leave can be shared or transferred to either parent. However, the right only extends to couples where both parents are working, meaning that 40% of fathers won’t be eligible because the mother doesn’t have a paid job.

However, there is also concern that replacement rates may be lower. Statutory rates are 90% of average weekly earnings for the first six weeks, then £139.58 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings – whichever is lower – for the next 33 weeks. In total, 39 of the 52 weeks will be paid. Employers often enhance maternity leave entitlements, but some suggest that they may be disinclined to do so for shared parental leave, fearing that there would be a massive take-up from eligible male employees. The TUC stresses that unless shared leave is backed up with better pay “couples simply won’t be able to afford to take it”.

Read more at The Guardian.

Work harder for gender equality, say MEPs – EU Parliament

The EU Parliament has passed a resolution stating that more progress is needed on some gender inequality issues. They highlight pay gaps, “glass ceilings” on women’s careers and a need to improve their work/life balance, including parental leave.

The resolution notes that flexible working arrangements can improve women’s participation in labour markets but can also affect wages. As such, MEPs encourage women and men to share family responsibilities. To this end, they note that fathers should have a right to at least 10 days’ paid paternity leave, and the European Commission to offer EU member states more financial support for affordable childcare systems.

Read more at EU Parliament.

Why do C-suiters like Patrick Pichette get to follow their bliss while his exhausted underlings trudge on? – Quartz

After CFO of Google announced he was to quit the technology giant for a better work-life balance, this article notes that ‘most people have to figure out how to manage their lives and connect with their families while working full-time hours or longer’.

Looking at the US case, it notes that just 12% of the workforce are entitled to paid leave, including being one of only two countries surveyed by the ILO to have no statutory paid maternity leave. Moreover, it points to accounts of Google’s working culture that note long hours are the norm – encouraged by on-site gyms, food and dry cleaning – and that it has negative effects on employees.

The article questions, then, whether work-life balance, in practice, is the preserve of a privileged few who can afford to leave jobs, and suggests that attention needs to be paid to making work-life balance more achievable for everybody.

Read more at Quartz.

Men want work-life balance too – Cosmopolitan

This article notes that while stay-at-home fathers remain relatively rare, their numbers have doubled over the past decade, from 1 to 2 million. It notes that ‘Millennial’ men are more likely to assume their partner’s careers will have equal importance to their own and are less likely to expect that female partners will do the majority of childcare.

However, it further notes that while couples that share domestic work and paid work more event are less likely to divorce, and have more sex, there remains stigma attached to men who actively balance work and family life, and that fathers ‘who talk about being a parent at work are viewed as both lesser workers and lesser men’.

Read more at Cosmopolitan