did you know?
Workers of all ages and ranks - even executives in Fortune 500 Companies - say they want more flexibility and would prefer it to a pay increase.
wise words we heard
The juiciest carrot to dangle for prospective employees is not cash; it's flexibility.
The building blocks of the custom-fit workplace are flexible work arrangements that allow employees to create a work-life fit while successfully meeting the needs of their employers. Alternative scheduling, flexible hours, compressed work weeks, reduced workload, part-time, job-sharing, and working virtually are some of the best known options.
You probably already know someone who takes advantage of such an option: a nurse who works four ten-hour shifts each week, an administrator who negotiated a 32-hour reduced schedule, or a salesperson who telecommutes. These common flexible work arrangements affect when, how, and where we work and are critical pieces of the custom-fit workplace.
Advice for Employers
Even small changes in an employee's schedule add up to large improvements in people's lives, such as letting a dad start work at 9 am instead of 8:30 so he can drop his child off at daycare.
Examine any rigid scheduling traditions. Don't let tradition block you from making changes that will make your workforce more able to manage the dual demands of job and life.
Work with your employees to determine schedules that work for them and the company. Seek win-win solutions.
Advice for Workers
When making a case for a flexible work arrangement, cite the business benefits of worker loyalty, decreased absenteeism, even improved health. (See Studies and Research)
Work with your employer to determine a flexibility strategy that works for both you and the company.
Honor your commitment. If your employer allows you to start work at 9am instead of 8:30, don't push your time out to 9:05 or 9:15 without making prior arrangements. If you work from home one day each week, make sure that day is productive.
UPS Hearts Logistics. Pregnant Employees, Not So Much.
By Ariela Migdal, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Women’s Rights Project
Peggy Young delivered letters and packages sent by air for UPS. When she got pregnant after struggling with infertility and IVF, her doctor recommended that she not lift more than 20 pounds. She asked UPS, where she had worked since 1999, for a "light duty" assignment, so that she could continue working through her pregnancy.
UPS said no. It explained that its policy was to offer light duty assignments or "inside" jobs to lots of different kinds of workers who were temporarily unable to perform their regular tasks: workers who were injured on the job, workers with a qualifying disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, workers who lose their commercial driving licenses because of an off-the-job injury, and workers involved in a car accident.
As a result, Peggy was put on unpaid leave with no medical coverage.
Sound illegal? It is, and has been since 1978, when Congress amended the civil rights laws to require employers to treat pregnant workers the same as any other worker who is similar in his or her ability or inability to do the job. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 is supposed to guarantee that, if the boss offers any other class of temporarily disabled workers a benefit or accommodation — like light duty, extra bathroom breaks, access to water, or a modified schedule — pregnant workers are given the same treatment.
Employers, however, haven’t gotten the message — and neither, unfortunately, have some courts. The trial court in this case said that UPS’s treatment of Peggy Young was perfectly fine, because UPS had come up with "pregnancy-blind" reasons to justify why it treated all those other classes of workers better. It wasn’t alone — enough courts have been letting employers get away with pushing pregnant women out of their jobs in recent years that the EEOC, the federal agency that enforces the employment laws, held a public meeting on the topic last month.
Treating pregnant workers equally when it comes to accommodations is important, especially for blue-collar workers, who may already be working in male-dominated industries and whose jobs are most likely to entail heavy lifting and other activities that may be restricted for some pregnant women. Women have been fighting the stereotype that they should be at home, barefoot and pregnant, instead of at work for years. It was this stereotype that Congress outlawed in 1978. That’s why today the ACLU Women’s Rights Project and the ACLU of Maryland filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Peggy Young’s case, joined by a large number of women’s rights organizations. Thirty-four years after the Pregnancy Discrimination Act was enacted, it’s time for employers to realize they can’t force pregnant workers off the job.