A story in the New York Post poses an interesting question: Are employees without children privilege to fewer benefits in the workplace than employees who are parents? According to the women interviewed for that article, definitely. These child-free workers felt that having a sick kid to nurse or a school play to attend were valid excuses for slipping out early while, say, a personal doctor’s appointment or a volunteer meeting were not.
From the story:
As the workplace has become increasingly family-friendly over the years, there’s been an unintended consequence: complaints from childless workers — typically women — that they’re leaned on to pick up the slack for those whose attention is divided between work and family.
“Workers who don’t have children are taking on hours and duties that their parental peers are not expected to take on,” says Laura Scott, founder of the Childless by Choice Project, who has done extensive research on the matter, and says many non-parents feel exploited in the workplace. “The assumption is that they don’t have a life outside of work.”
That sounds all too familiar to Kristen Bossert, a graphic designer who’s sick of feeling like a second-class employee.
“I’m the one who always gets stuck at work,” she says. “If you have no kids, you have no excuses.”
Some of the workers quoted in the Post story seem downright contemptuous, expressing frustration that their own milestones, such as running a marathon, are less cause for celebration than a coworker’s child’s accomplishments. “Being a breeder is a choice, a hobby” [one woman] says. “Shouldn’t my hobbies and my choices get me [a free pass] too?”
I typically spend between nine and nine-and-a-half hours each day in the office, plus some night and weekend work. On the other hand, I am never hassled about popping out for an occasional scout meeting or dentist appointment. Andrew and I are lucky in that our jobs are reasonably flexible. We can sometimes work at home in a pinch, and on school holidays, I either send the kid off with friends or invite my mother into town.
A child-free doctor friend of mine once complained that she gets stuck on call every Christmas because her coworkers with families seem “entitled” — her word — to have the day off. One of my mom friends complained about getting the evil eye from coworkers when she recently went part time.
Source: Nicki Britton
Posted on April 9, 2012