Saturday, February 16, 2008

The flexible working hours law is positive discrimination

Deborah Hill Cone: Hold my calls - the bichon frise needs me

Can childless workers choose special hours to accommodate commitments for something else important to them such as looking after their irritable bichon frise or learning Morris dancing? Not likely.

The flexible working hours law is positive discrimination and, like other affirmative action programmes, it is conceptually dumb and practically dumb. Ideologically, discrimination is wrong.
. . .
This is not to say that there are not ways to combine caring for a family with work. The most successful is to become an independent contractor or self-employed. . . .
The problem is, like it or not, women who have children are always going to be second-class workers and no law can redress this. The reason is: when push comes to shove, their children come first.
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1 comment:

bunnygirl said...

Where I work, we're flexible with all staff, regardless of their reasons for wanting an alternative schedule. The only requirements we have are that daily work hours start no earlier than 7 am and end no later than 6 pm, and that no one's schedule negatively impact the overall functioning of a team. IOW, if three out of four want Friday afternoons off, that won't fly and you need to find a better solution.

What irks me is maternity leave. It's not the existence of it I take issue with but that there is no way for someone who chooses not to have children to get a similar benefit.

I'd love to have three months of guaranteed leave to chase a dream of my own. I work for the sort of people who could probably be talked into giving me a sabbatical, but the animosity I would face from my co-workers would make it not worth it in the end.

So if Susie Breeder's dream is a family of ten, she can take three months off work for each kid (even adopted ones) with her job fully protected by law until she has achieved her goal. Me? Nope. Can't even do it once, unless it's to have a kid, and that would be more like my nightmare than my dream.