Magazine article Personnel Journal


Magazine article Personnel Journal


Article excerpt

Give Benefits to Childless Employees, Too

I DON'T WANT TO IMPLY that I don't appreciate the benefits my company provides, it's just that your cover story titled "Backlash: Why Single Employees are Angry" (September 1996) really hit home. It's what childless employees have been saying for years about our company.

In my opinion, my company failed in nine of the 13 questions asked in the survey on page 68.

There are two main issues: benefits and work. The article distinguishes between "single" and "married," which really isn't a factor. It's really whether or not you have children that matters.

Benefits: Like your article said, it isn't the benefits that makes childless employees angry, but it doesn't help when there are no matching childless employee benefits.

My company is voted as one of the top 10 best companies for working mothers in America by Working Woman. It's a good company with many benefits, such as onsite, company-paid, day care. Employees contribute a nominal amount each month per child, but even that's taken out of their flex dollars. The company even provides food and diapers for children while in day care. There's no comparable singles benefit.

Insurance: It only costs about $25 a month for each employee to add a dependent. Another nice benefit if you have children.

Scholarships/Tuition assistance: It's only for children of employees. What about any employees who don't have a bachelor's degree?

Work: This really hit home. After 5:00 p.m., it's a virtual ghost town of people without children. There are usually dozens of childless employees working late because the work needs to get done while the other employees who are on the "day-care schedule" have left. There are, of course, the 1 percent who come back and work late or come in early. But it's up to the childless people to meet the deadlines, and it's never spoken, just understood.

Employees with children say, "You just try having children." I say it was their choice to have children and my choice not to. I shouldn't be penalized for being childless or have to change my work schedule for employees who have children.

It's hard to believe that a company voted for its exemplary treatment of working mothers couldn't cater to childless employees. But, as your article states, it doesn't have to stay that way. Anonymous

Finally-Single Employees Get Some Respect

I WANT TO COMPLIMENT and thank you for the September 1996 cover story by Gillian Flynn: "Backlash: Why Single Employees Are Angry." As a single female and a consultant in the work/life arena, I'm glad this issue is receiving attention.

As a consultant, I constantly encourage clients to consider single employees when reviewing work/life programs and policies. It makes good business sense to ensure all employees achieve balance.

Also, as a recent business school graduate, I can tell you that many of my classmates, myself included, wanted to join fins that promoted work/life balance, but many of my classmates are now considering leaving good jobs because they haven't found that balance. I think an effective work/life initiative truly can be a competitive advantage for employers looking to recruit and retain the best and the brightest.

Employers need to recognize [that employees who aren't married with children also have personal commitments] and they need to communicate this to employees. Fortunately, my managers recognize and accommodate my personal needs whenever possible-not all single employees are that lucky. …

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