How Mother and father Can Ask for Flexibility When Workplaces Reopen

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“Employers don’t have to allow caregivers flexible hours,” said Liz Morris, labor law expert and assistant director of the Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings Law. But employers must offer parents the same job flexibility that they give non-parents under the discrimination laws on family duties that are on the books in 195 states and local jurisdictions, she said.

She cited an example of the pandemic: “If a mother is told she cannot stay home but other people can still work from home, it could be illegal, especially if it is based on unsubstantiated assumptions that mothers are go. “to put their jobs second and cannot be trusted to do their job when their children are around.”

“Be very clear about your career goals and aspirations,” said Dr. Cooper. For example, when women are of childbearing age or have children, it is often assumed that they are retiring and focusing on their families, she said. “One way to counteract these assumptions and prejudices is to say, ‘Here is my plan for the next three years, and I look forward to working on projects like this.’ This is a way of pushing back assumptions that people may not even notice that they have about you. “

“What you are trying to prevent is the perception that you are contributing less, which can happen if you work flexibly,” said Dr. Cooper. “To counter this, keep a list of what you are currently working on and share this with your team members and supervisors on a regular basis. When managers have your performance in mind, they will incorporate them into their ratings. “

Make it clear, Dr. Cooper said, “This is a public health emergency that is beyond my control.

Remember, there is nothing wrong with asking for flexibility, especially when setting out the facts. At the same time, think about how your employer might react and, if possible, document your conversations in timestamped emails. Laws in only three states and six cities protect against retaliation if an employee requests a roster change, Ms. Dinan said. And a recent survey by A Better Balance and the New York City Comptroller found that caregivers who earn less than $ 50,000 a year are twice as likely to be retaliated after demanding flexibility from their employer than those who earn more than $ 100,000.

In addition to your sick leave, the Family and Sick Leave Act grants eligible workers 12 weeks of unpaid work-related leave if they or a family member have serious health problems. You cannot use FMLA time to stay home to avoid contracting Covid-19 or to take care of healthy children affected by school closings.

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