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National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn October 15, 2012In: Alternative Work Schedules, Flextime, Internet Resources, Resources, Women, Wellness, & Work-Life Balance

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Earlier this month, the President proclaimed October 2012 National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). The observance is intended to raise awareness about disability employment issues and to celebrate the contributions of our country's workers with disabilities. This year's theme is "A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?"

In conjunction with NDEAM, he U.S. Department of Labor has launched an online Workplace Flexibility Toolkit to "provide employees, job seekers, employers, policymakers and researchers with information, resources and a unique approach to workplace flexibility."

According to the U.S. DOL, the toolkit "points visitors to case studies, fact and tip sheets, issue briefs, reports, articles, websites with additional information, other related toolkits and a list of frequently asked questions. It is searchable by type of resource, target audience and types of workplace flexibility, including place, time and task."

Utah's Four-Day Workweek Not All It's Cracked Up to Be

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn August 9, 2010In: Alternative Work Schedules

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Utah was the first (and only) state in the U.S. to move to a mandatory four-day workweek.  Under the system, which was implemented by former Gov. Jon Huntsman in 2008, almost all state employees were converted to a schedule of four, 10-hour days per week.  As readers of this blog may recall, I have not been the biggest proponent of the four-day workweek.  See The Cons of a 4-Day Workweek.  

But not everyone agreed.  In fact, for a while, the compressed-week schedule was very, very popular and local governments around the country began to initiate pilot groups to test it.  These efforts were supported by announcements that the Utah program was generating lots of savings for the State and lauded as an official "success." 

Well, as it turns out, Utah may have been wearing rose-colored glasses when it made the "success" determination, according to a recent audit. The State admitted that it had not seen the reduced energy costs that it had hoped for (realizing only about $500,000 in savings in the first year, as compared to the expected $3 million).  But the audit says it goes a bit deeper, finding that the State overestimated how much money it saved in saved overtime and other costs.  In fairness to the Utah program, though, employee surveys do indicate that employees prefer the four-day workweek, so there must be some supporters. 

Katie Keuhner-Herbert's article on Human Resource Executive about the audit and the four-day workweek program in Utah. See Reassessing Four-Day WorkweeksThe article points out some of the flaws in the four-day workweek and pinpoints some sticking points for employers and employees alike.  (For purposes of full disclosure, I'm quoted in the article--but don't let that deter you.)

See also

  • Positive Benefits of a Four-Day Work Week
  • 5 Steps Toward a More Flexible Workplace
  • Should a Four-Day Work Week Be Mandatory*
  • It's Saturday Today in Utah: 4 Day Work Week
  • Alternatives to the Four Day Work Week
  • Popularity of the 4-day Week Continues to Grow
  • Will Four-Day School Week Push the Four-Day Work Week Trend?
  • Utah's Mandatory 4-Day Work Week Will Save the World. Sort of.
  • White House Focuses on Workplace Flexibility

    Posted by Adria B. MartinelliOn April 2, 2010In: Alternative Work Schedules, Flextime, Women, Wellness, & Work-Life Balance

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    Workplace flexibility has been a hot topic, a highlight of which was President Obama's White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility, televised earlier this week. The forum was designed as an opportunity for labor leaders, CEOs, small business owners, and policy experts to share their ideas and strategies for making the workplace more flexible for workers and their families. During the conference, the President compared flexible work schedules to the early stages of email: some companies have it, some don’t, but eventually, all companies will. Get ready employers – if you haven’t gotten aboard yet, the train may run you over!

    Juggle work and home workplace flexibility

    With healthcare out of the way, the administration is freed up to focus on other priorities. During the campaign, then-candidate Obama included work-life issues as an important part of his agenda, committing to expand FMLA, to prevent caregiver discrimination, and to offer incentives to employers to expand flexible work arrangements.  The forum indicates  that work-life issues remain a focus of this administration. Although the Obamas now have a personal chef, chauffeurs, and other assistance to make their “balance” a little easier, I am sure that Michelle’s experience managing a demanding career and raising her two girls has helped to ensure this issue remains on the President’s radar screen.

    The discussion has taken different varied focuses over the years, but the bottom line is this: for many reasons, in order to retain employees in the modern workforce, employers have to reinvent the old model of an ideal worker. Flexible work schedules are over and over again focused on as the reasonable way to accommodate the needs of both employer and employee. The impetus for employers to engage in this discussion has  evolved a bit over the years.

    First, employers were interested in the topic primarily due to the economics of investment in skilled workforce (particularly professional women), who often left the job because unable to balance their work and family responsibilities. Then Gen Y came along, with both males and females placing a greater value on “down” time, whether with family or pursuing other activities. Gen Y consistently ranks workplace flexibility among the most desirable employment benefits. With the economic downturn, the discussion turned to how flexible schedules could immediately help the bottom line (4-day workweeks, voluntary reduction in hours for reduction in pay, etc.).

    Law and politics have not shied away from the discussion: both Republican and Democratic administrations have made important advancements to the cause of work-life balance. In 2007, the EEOC under the Bush administration issued it Enforcement Guidance: Unlawful Disparate Treatment of Workers with Caregiver Responsibilities. In 2009, Obama’s administration issued  Employer Best Practices for Workers with Caregiver Responsibilities, which focused primarily on flexible work arrangements. The White House Forum has work-life balance advocates everywhere eager to see what will come next!

     

    See these related posts for more about work-life balance:

    Resources for Work-Life Balance and Flexible Work Arrangements

    Maybe It’s Not All Gloom and Doom for Work-Life Balance

    Looking a Flexible-Schedule Gift Horse in the Mouth

    Caregiver Discrimination: The "Sandwiched Generation"

    5 Steps Toward a More Flexible Workplace

    Caregiver Discrimination: The "Sandwiched Generation"

    Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn May 8, 2009In: Alternative Work Schedules, Family Responsibilities (FRD), Generations: Boomers, Xers, and Millennials, Women, Wellness, & Work-Life Balance

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    EEOC issued Employer Best Practices for Workers With Caregiving Responsibilities, a technical-assistance guide, last week.  Caregiver or Family-Responsibilities Discrimination, according to the EEOC, occurs when an employer makes an adverse employment decision based on the employee's care-giving responsibilities.  Because this type of discrimination is a derivative of gender discrimination, the basic premises begins with parents of young children.  But it extends in the opposite direction, as well, to employers whose own parents are the ones in need of caregiving.  This second category is the less commonly recognized of the two forms of discrimination.  But there is a third type, as well.  A  dual-income household where both caregivers are working and care not only for children, but also for aging parents, is known as a "sandwiched" home.  The sandwiched generation are those who are at a very fragile point, having responsibility for multiple generations.Big kid and little kid with PDAs

    As many as 9-13% of American households can be characterized as a sandwiched household.  The typical couple includes a 44-year-old man and a 42 year-old-woman, who have been married for just less than 20 years. Both spouses work full time.  There are two children in the home and two aging parents who require assistance in performing daily tasks of living, such as transportation, shopping, making care-related decisions, housekeeping, and managing money.  

    Until the economy enjoys a significant improvement, it is easy to imagine that the number of sandwiched households will continue to grow.  Aging parents who, in good financial times, may have been able to afford the expense of assisted living, may see a more reasonable option as living with an adult child.  Of course, as we continue to outlive previous generations, the number of aging parents will continue to grow. 

    Employers can play a key role in the lives of employees facing these challenges at home.  Of course, alternative work schedules can be used to attract and retain the best employees of all ages and in all stages of life.  To a group facing extraordinary pressures at home, an alternative work schedule may separate a good employer from a great one. Even aside from these more formal workplace initiatives, though, employers can take important steps to improve the work-family culture in the workplace.  Managers who are sensitive to employees' personal needs, for example, can be a great source of comfort to an otherwise over-burdened employee.  Guilt is not an emotional area in which they come up short and it's the last thing they need to feel at work when the pressures of home require them to leave early or to take a longer lunch.

    For more on Family Responsibilities Discrimination (FRD), see:

    Family Responsibility Discrimination. Download of a Short and Sweet Summary of the FRD Now Available

    Job Sharing as an Alternative Work Option

    Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn May 4, 2009In: Alternative Work Schedules, Flextime

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    Flexible work schedules come in every shape and size. Job sharing is just one type of work arrangement that offers employees flexibility and, in turn, the opportunity for an approved work-life balance. But what exactly is job sharing?  It's just what sounds like--employees share job duties as a way to reduce each person's job duties. Essentially, job sharing is a type of part-time work. It involves two or more workers who are responsible for the duties and tasks of one full-time position.

    Some job shares are set up so that each employee handles specific duties.  Other job shares have a less formal division of duties. In either set up, the employees coordinate their schedules so that the regular "shift" is always covered.  When one job sharer is not working, the other is.  There is usually some overlap in scheduling to enable the sharers to communicate.  The division of time can be split evenly but any assignment can be successful.

    The most basic requirement for potential job sharers is a well-honed sense of teamwork.  An employee who tends to be controlling of his or her duties may have difficulty in letting go of that control to another employee.  Communication skills also are critical.  The job sharers must be able not only to work well together, but also to be able to communicate when things are going well and when things are going not so well. 

    Making It Work When You Work From Home

    Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn May 1, 2009In: Alternative Work Schedules

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    Telecommuting has been on the rise for several years. Worsening economic conditions have increased the telecommuting trend more than ever, as employers begin to take notice of its potential cost savings and reduced overhead.   Many employees, though, worry that they lack the discipline required to telecommute effectively.  Working from home does require discipline. It requires the employee to be aware of potential distractions that are not issues in the traditional workplace.  people father and son at dad's workplace

    But there are strategies to make working from home work for you.  If your employer has asked you to consider telecommuting or if you recently started working from home, here are a few tips to help you succeed at telecommuting:

    1.  Stick to a schedule

    By scheduling break and meal times, you can prevent taking too many breaks during working time.  If you have a set schedule for lunch, you will be less inclined to take multiple trips to the fridge to "grab a snack."  And when it's time for a break, really take it.  This time to clear your head is critical to continued clarity during working hours.

    2.  Dress for success

    Don't work in your pajamas.  Get dressed for work as you would if you actually had to leave the house to go to work. We are so susceptible to visual clues that we'd be kidding ourselves to pretend that we don't act the way we look.  So dress the part--it will help you remember that you're not on a vacation day but, instead, need to get down to business.

    3.  Set the stage

    A similar strategy is to create an office environment that is dedicated just to work.  And when work is done, leave the "office" and join the rest of the family in the rest of the house.  If you are able to have a separate room where you will work during the day, leave the room and close the door at quitting time and don't return until the next day.  The purpose of telecommuting is not to meld your working and non-working times into a single, undistinguishable 24-hour cycle. Just because your office and your home share an address does not mean that you're on call at all times. 

    DuPont Puts Flexible Downsizing to Work With Voluntary Unpaid Leave

    Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn April 15, 2009In: Alternative Work Schedules, Reduction in Force (RIF)

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    Delaware's largest industrial employer is asking its salaried workers to take at least two weeks' unpaid leave.  75 of the company's senior leaders announced that they will take three weeks off without pay in response to the current market conditions.  There are a number of reasons to consider initiating this type of voluntary program instead of involuntary layoffs.  According to the article reported by the Wilmington News Journal:Dupont

    Employers appear to be favoring voluntary programs, according to a February survey by Watson Wyatt consulting firm. Eleven percent of the 245 U.S.-based companies surveyed have instituted mandatory furloughs, while another 6 percent expect to launch a program in the next 12 months.  By comparison, 10 percent already have had voluntary furloughs and another 9 percent are expected to ask for voluntary furloughs within the next 12 months, the survey said.

    A DuPont representative cited the current preference for flexible work schedules as one reason for its decision to initiate the voluntary program.  Another reason was that it made compliance with foreign laws easier than if an involuntary layoff program had been utilized. 

    For those of us on the East Coast, where summer is king, now may be an ideal time to consider offering a flexible-downsizing initiative.  If your organization is trying to cut labor costs without having to layoff its valued employees, you may want to think about unpaid leave, voluntary furloughs, and reduced-schedule work week.  If your employees traditionally flock to the beach on Friday afternoons, they may jump at the chance to work a four-day week for 4/5 of their normal pay.  Even a temporary program for the summer months may be enough to enable your organization to stave off unwanted involuntary reductions.

    I'll be conducting an audio conference on layoff alternatives in June for M. Lee Smith Publishers.  Be sure to check out the HR Hero website for lots of resources on employment-law and human-resource topics, including information about voluntary and mandatory furloughs.  Delaware employers can learn more about the legal considerations involved in layoffs at our annual Employment Law Seminar on April 29.  (Learn more about the employment-law seminar here and register for the seminar here).

    Utah's Four-Day Work Week Scores Well

    Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn April 13, 2009In: Alternative Work Schedules

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    Utah's four-day work week has been in place for nearly a year and the numbers are in. According to state officials, the energy savings have not materialized but there have been increases in employee productivity and reported worker satisfaction. State planners report the following benefits to the four-day work week:

    • Less overtime hours worked
    • Less leave taken
    • 70% satisfaction

    NPR ran an article on the reduced-workweek program. There was no mention in the article about how the "increased productivity" was measured.  But it did include the opinion of one state employee who is not in the 70% of "happy workers." 

    Nicki Lockheart is quoted in the article as saying about the alternative work schedule, "I hate it."  "A 10-hour day for me is like eternity," she says.

    By the time the customer service agent gets home and eats dinner, she says, it's time for bed. By Friday, Lockhart is so stressed out, she gets headaches. 

    Gov. Huntsman will decide whether the pilot program goes permanent later this summer. 

    Previous Posts on the Four-Day Work Week:

  • The Pros and Cons of a 4-Day Workweek: Cons
  • Feds Take a Cue from the States and Consider the 4-Day Workweek
  • 35 Questions You Should Ask When Drafting a Compressed Work Week Policy
  • Positive Benefits of a Four-Day Work Week
  • 5 Steps Toward a More Flexible Workplace
  • Should a Four-Day Work Week Be Mandatory*
  • It's Saturday Today in Utah: 4 Day Work Week
  • Alternatives to the Four Day Work Week
  • Looking a Flexible-Schedule Gift Horse in the Mouth

    Posted by Adria B. MartinelliOn March 20, 2009In: Alternative Work Schedules, Women In (and Out of) the Workplace, Women, Wellness, & Work-Life Balance

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    Flexible schedules is a topic of particular interest to me, in some part, because I am the grateful beneficiary of one.   I commend employers, including my own, who have made the enlightened and informed decision to offer this benefit.  It's a decision that I firmly believe will pay dividends in employee loyalty and ultimately save the employer money on hiring, retraining, etc.calendar and clock

    Raising happy, healthy, adjusted children is the responsibility of our entire population, and the burden of doing so should not rest on the mother’s shoulders alone. However, the United States, unlike other industrialized nations, has little legislation to promote this ideal. Absent the FMLA, permitting new parents 12 weeks (unpaid) to bond with their children, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prevents employers from discriminating against women on the basis of their pregnancy, accommodations or benefits to assist new mothers in balancing their work and families are left largely to the employer’s discretion.

    WorkLife Law has advocated aggressively and effectively on behalf of working mothers, suggesting litigation through existing statutes where possible to remedy inequities with respect to mothers in the workplace. In part due to their efforts, the EEOC issued its guidance on Unlawful Disparate Treatment of Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities , which helped to focus employers and EEOC investigators on subtle biases about the commitment of working mothers to their job responsibilities, that may result in actionable discrimination cases.

    A recent “Employer Alert” from WorkLife Law, however, has taken it too far, suggesting the following:

    Continue reading "Looking a Flexible-Schedule Gift Horse in the Mouth" »

    Why Flexible Downsizing Is a Win-Win Initiative

    Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn February 18, 2009In: Alternative Work Schedules, Flextime, Reduction in Force (RIF)

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    The four-day work week is very popular among public employers these days.  Employers who have implemented a compressed work week program successfully say they've enjoyed benefits such as saved energy costs, decreased absenteeism, and improved employee morale resulting from the change. 

    I don't believe that a four-day work week is the solution of all solutions, as some have claimed.  But I do believe that there are certain organizations that, because of their structure and purpose, can be good models for the program.  The ideal candidates, though, are almost always government employers.  A mandatory four-day work week, generally, is not realistic in the private sector. image

    But does that general proposition lose its vigor in a bad economy?  Can the four-day work week be implemented in the private sector more effectively because of the downturn?  It turns out that flexible schedules can have important benefits in an economic downtime, just as they can in times of fiscal health.  The trick, though, is to get employers to be aware of the opportunities.  

    Fast Company blogger, Cali Yost, has an ongoing series of posts about the benefits of "flexible downsizing" and why employers are better suited to consider this option as opposed to layoffs.  In a recent post, she explains:

    There are creative, cost-effective ways to use strategic work+life flexibility to reduce labor costs while remaining connected to valuable talent. These options include reduced schedules, job sharing, sabbaticals, and contract workers.

    In a recent interview with Penn professor and author, Dr. Peter Capelli, Yost questioned why more employers aren't taking advantage of the benefits that can be derived from a flexible-downsizing initiative.  Most employers, said Capelli, are too short-sighted, focusing only on short-term cuts instead of the longer term savings to be had.  Capelli asserts that it is cheaper to retain an employee at  5% reduction in pay than to layoff 5% of the workforce because "there are no severance packages; the legal liability and associated costs are much less; and the savings come instantly without the agonizing administrative process of figuring out who has to go…”.

    Flexible downsizing is also a valuable option when employers are trying desperately to avoid layoffs--at the cost of the fiscal health of the organization.  These companies are so pained by the thought of laying off personnel that they avoid doing so to the extent that it actually results in more layoffs in the long-term.  Alternatives such as voluntary, across-the-board pay cuts, reduced-hour schedules, and furloughs of even a few weeks can mean the difference between voluntary, and relatively minor, cut-backs now and involuntary and severe cut-backs later. 

    Why the Four-Day Work Week Should Not Be Considered a "Flexible Schedule"

    Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn January 20, 2009In: Alternative Work Schedules

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    The four-day work week is touted as a way for employers to offer employees a more flexible schedule.  The demand for flexible and alternative schedules continues to grow.  There are a number of reasons for this increased demand.  The influx of Generation Y workers has played a role, for one.  Also, the increased focus on work-life balance mandates the need for flexible scheduling.  And, as the workplace becomes more and more mobile, the need for office workers to actually work from the office continues to diminish.   Flexible Work Schedule Hourglass and planner

    There are many ways in which employers can implement flexible-schedule programs.  When done right, these programs can act as ways to recruit the best candidates and retain the best employees.  But not all flexible workplace programs are created equally.  And, in my opinion, one of the most hyped offerings, the four-day work week, doesn't meet the criteria at all.  In a short post for the Sloan Work and Family Research Network, I write about Why the Four-Day Work Week Would Be the Death of the Flexible-Schedule Initiative.  In the post, I address some of the reasons why I think the four-day work schedule cannot, by definition, classify as a "flexible work schedule." 

    Why Telecommuting Could Be the Answer to My Cookie Prayers

    Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn December 26, 2008In: Alternative Work Schedules, Telecommuting

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    In Delaware, courts take a holiday on December 26.  Accordingly, most law firms are closed for the day, including ours.  And, not surprisingly, many Delaware lawyers will work anyway.  Duty calls. 

    Is there a way to accomplish those important work tasks without having to sacrifice family time?  Enter telecommuting. image

    Technically speaking, telecommuting is one of many flexible work initiatives.  A telecommuter works from home full-time or several days out of the work week.  Telework or telecommuting involves work that normally would have been performed from a central office setting but can now be performed at home or remote location.  Telework requires the use a computer, an internet connection, telephone, scanner, and, perhaps, a fax machine. 

    Telecommuting is an employment arrangement that involves moving work to the workers instead of workers to work.

    Proponents of telecommuting claim (with good support), that efficiently run programs can offer employers the following benefits:

    • Cost Savings through the reduction of overhead and fixed costs, such as rent.

    • Increased Productivity of 10-40%, due in part to the absence of typical office interruptions.

    • Improved Motivation of employees who see the program as a sign of trust and confidence.

    • Skills Retention when an employee who would otherwise leave the workplace is able to stay. Includes employees on maternity leave, whose families move out of the area, whose disability prevents them from working in the standard office set-up, or who are nearing retirement but who the employer wants to retain as long as possible.

    • Organization Flexibility is substantially improved. Teams can be created without consideration for geography or the need for travel. 

    • Flexible Staffing by reducing the number of hours worked to those with the highest demand.

    • External disruptions, such as natural disasters, inclement weather, traffic problems, and even security issues, have a lesser impact on the organization's ability to operate at a fully functional level.

    • Enhanced Customer Service, which can be extended beyond the working day or the working week without the costs of overtime payments or the need for staff to work non-traditional business hours.

    Each of these claimed benefits have at least some legitimacy.  Although telework may not be appropriate for every type of job or every type of workplace, it certainly seems to be attractive on a day like today when there's no need to be in the office and when my mother-in-law's cookies are guaranteed to be gone before lunch!

    For more information on telecommuting or other flexible work schedules, be sure to see the Working TIme category, under Telecommuting.

    Developments in Work-Family Issues

    Posted by Adria B. MartinelliOn October 17, 2008In: Alternative Work Schedules, Flextime

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    Flexible work schedules are continually becoming one of the most demanded employment benefits.  Life Meets Work is an organization that promotes flexible work schedules and alternative work arrangements. The organization is currently conducting its first annual survey on the topic of work-life balance. karen_juggler

    The goal of the survey, called Flexing, Floundering, or 'Just Fine Thanks': Work/Life Issues in America, is to capture the opinions of Americans challenges in balancing work and life, the role of government in work-life initiatives, and flexible work programs. Life Meets Work also wants to hear about the flex programs, and work-life initiatives from an employer's perspective.

    Whether you're working parent, stay-at-home mom, business owner or human resources executive, Life Meets Work want to hear from you. The survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete. Your responses are confidential.

    The results of the study, along with a corresponding white paper, will be presented on a free Webinar, appropriately titled after the survey,  on October 28, 2008.

    Dear Governor Palin, Will You Support Working Moms? Check Yes or No

    Posted by Adria B. MartinelliOn October 17, 2008In: Alternative Work Schedules, Women In (and Out of) the Workplace

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    With the ever-increasing interest in alternative work schedules, Americans are curious how the candidates in this year's election feel about work-life issues, particularly our first woman (and mother)  Vice Presidential nominee.  MomsRising.org is an advocacy organization lobbying for the need of a more family-friendly America. They have drafted the following letter they encourage you to sign and submit to Governor Palin. The letter reads as follows:

    Dear Governor Palin,6a00d8341bf80c53ef00e54f6d38b18834-800wi

    It was dazzling to see a mom on the stage at the Republican convention accepting  the Vice Presidential nomination.  There are too few mothers in the boardrooms and high levels of political office.  As members of MomsRising.org we celebrate your path from PTA to Vice Presidential candidate, but we didn't hear much in your speech about what you and your party will do for mothers and families. 


    Due to the economic downturn, mothers and families are struggling more than before.  A quarter of families with children under age six are living in poverty, and having a baby is a leading cause of a “poverty spell” in our nation--a time when income dips below what’s needed for food and rent.  Women get a huge wage hit when they have children: mothers make only 73 cents to a man’s dollar, and single moms make only about 60cents.  Countries with family-friendly policies and programs in place--like paid family leave and affordable childcare--have smaller wage gaps for mothers, healthier children, and spend less funds later on the criminal justice system, grade repetitions, healthcare, and much more.


    Our nation can’t afford to ignore the issues of mothers and families any longer.  We want to know where you stand on the issues which are critical to mothers like healthcare, fair pay, paid family and medical leave, afterschool programs, childcare/early learning, paid sick days, and flexible work options.
    With now three-quarters of American mothers in the labor force, but a societal structure which hasn’t caught up to that modern reality, we, as a nation, are at a crisis point for our families.  Bottom Line: Mothers want to ensure the well-being of their families.  No mother should have to choose between taking care of a sick child and feeding her child. And no mother should have to choose between taking her child to the doctor and paying rent.

    Governor Palin, if elected Vice President of the United States, how will you support mothers and families? Mothers across the nation look forward to hearing where you stand on our issues.

    To submit this letter, visit MomsRising.org , and simply sign your name electronically to the letter, which will then be submitted by the organization to Palin.

    Telecommuting Is a Way to Work More--Not to Drive Less

    Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn September 24, 2008In: Alternative Work Schedules, Telecommuting

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    Alternative schedules, such as "4/10s" (a/k/a four-day workweeks), have been hot topics for the past several months.  I know I've put more than my two cents worth of commentary out there recently.  So why is it that only a tiny percentage of the country's employees report having access to such flex-time initiatives?  j0400948

    In a recent Gallup Poll, only 12% of workers say that their employers encouraged its employees to work from home one or more workdays per week.  And only 16% say that the idea of the 4-day workweek has been supported by management.  Yes, these are increases from alternative schedules reported in the past but they can hardly be considered to be representative of the general population. 

    What hasn't increased, though, is telecommuting.  There has been 0% increase in the number of respondents who say they telecommute at all.  Well, no, that's inaccurate--that number has actually fallen 2%, down to 30% today as compared to 32% in 2006. 

    What I found most important was the finding that employees who reported that they have telecommuted say that they do so as a way to put in extra hours on nights or on weekends.  Telecommuting, it seems, has no correlation to a reduced cost of driving.