I work in a fairly progressive workplace as far as family issues go.  That's other than the long hours and huge volumes of take-home work.  It's possible for parents to jobshare or work less than full time without loss of medical benefits.  Work hours have been flexible too, although they work out that the majority of early and late hours go to people who don't have child care issues. 


"I can't work late, my daughter has ballet"  I can't work late, my son has piano"  "I cant work late, my kids have soccer"  "I can't work early, daycare isn't open yet" "You dont have kids, you can work on christmas" "My kids need me for Thanksgiving, could you work then?"  "I need to take off, my kid has an ear infection"


I understand there is a "social contract".  After all, who will take care of me when I'm old?  Who will visit me when I'm lonely?  It's their kids, right?  They will say "thanks" for working all of those unwanted hours, right?  Their parents will say thanks, right?  They'll give me a cookie, maybe?


I do realise that care for the young is our social contract.  Today's young will continue our economy, build and maintain infrastructure, keep the food and medicine flowing, protect us from terrorists, when I am old.  They might even have to house me on medicaid or something.


Possibly, someone covered my parents in the same way when I was young, so this is payback?  Not much, if at all, but that was a different era.


Still, we are going through another round of pregnancies at work.  Male and female, they'll take off their 90 days parental leave.  That workload will be covered by....  among others, me.  Has anyone ever thanked a coworker for covering these parental privileges?  Once in a while they'll bring in their spawn, and people interrupt an already overwhelming workday to fawn over the little bundles of joy.  Leaving the nonparents to pick up the slack again.


I think we need nonparental leave.  Just give anyone who has never taken parental leave, 90 days off with pay and benefits.  I think it's fair.


Thanks for letting me vent.


My 2¢.



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Replies to This Discussion

I had a coworker who took off so much because of her kids being sick that it became REALLY annoying. I half wondered if she didn't use her kids as an excuse to take off.
I have several who do that. I think it sometimes IS an excuse to take off.
In a previous job we had 3 kinds of time off (totaling 5 weeks): 2 weeks vacation (supposed to be planned in advance, one week of it had to be taken as a whole week, the rest could be used a day or 1/2 day at a time), 2 weeks sick (you or your child were ill) and 1 week personal business time (was supposed to only be used for things like doctor or lawyer appointments, court or anything else that could only be done during business hours, could be taken 1 hour at a time or whole days), so the childless pretty much got screwed when it came to time off since we were less likely to use all of our sick or personal business (legally they couldn't ask what specifically you were doing on personal time, but if they found out it was used for something else (beach, shopping) you could be written up).

They later changed the policy to 4 weeks time off and you could use it however you wanted. Several of the parents whined about it; I practically jumped for joy, since now I would actually get to use all of my time. Under the previous policy, I used my vacation time, 1 or 2 sick days per year (telephone customer service job, or I might not have had to use even that many) and a few hours of personal time for a doctor's appointment (I even switched shifts (rotating shifts, possible hours were 8-4:30, 8:30-5, 9-5:30 and 9:30-6) with someone, so I wouldn't be out as many hours). A coworker with a child and a jackass ex used all of her allotted time and took unpaid time. When you are a call center, having someone out is the same level of problem no matter why they are out or whether they are getting paid for it.

I think other than a short period for medical recovery from giving birth (for the mother), parents should not get any special privileges in regards to time off. They should have to reserve whatever time (I like the system of "this is your allowed paid time off, use it how you want to") they have if they want bonding time and after that they should have to apply for unpaid time; and if it doesn't meet the requirements for the Family Leave Act (baby bonding time does not, dealing with hospitalized sick baby does), then they should be told their job may not be held for them if they choose to take the time. The rest of the staff should not have to overwork themselves because this person chose to have kids.

Really I think that it is best for all involved for one parent to stay home with kids full-time until the kids are in school full-time and able to be left alone after school or parents should work opposite shifts. Of course, this requires 2 parent households, as I don't think the rest of the people should be paying the bills for single parents to stay home. I don't see this ever happening as too many people are idiots or selfish jerks; and mistakes (trusting someone who ends up being a jerk) and bad things (early death) can happen.
We had 4 weeks vacation plus lots of sick leave and a couple of personal days and she STILL took a lot of time off. What made it more annoying is that I worked at a library. She could have just dumped her kids at the Children's Department. Which leads me to suspect that it was just an excuse to take time off.
It's good to see that I'm not the only one who feels this way.
Strange timing - I just watched an episode of CSI_Miami on hulu, about a hated office assistant who was murdered. One of the suspects was an employee who faked having a family, because he resented that employees with kids got time off for family issues, plus single employees were more likely to get laid off when the company downsized.
You're not the only one who feels this way.

I am sympathetic to those parents who are truly in a bind now and then. But like you say, it seems like some either take advantage and/or are taking unnecessary time off. When I was a kid and home sick with an ear infection or something, Mom and Dad had little problem getting me a babysitter. Until I was maybe 7? Then they'd leave me at home alone. Sure they'd call to make sure I'm still alive. But otherwise, they did a pretty good job of making sure I knew how not to burn the house down or drown myself in the bathtub.

I too am a fan of the time-off-to-do-whatever. I'm an even bigger fan of alloted sick/personal time and whatever you don't use you get back in the form of a pay-bonus.

Yes, parents will say this favors the childless. I say that to with few exceptions, you had a choice when you got pregnant and you chose to have the kid and take on that responsibility. You chose to take on the risk your child might be special-needs. That means you don't get as much freedom - or free personal time - as you did when you were childless. Anytime you feel bitter that you *had* to use a personal day to babysit your 12 year old through the flu, just remind me again how fulfilling it is to have a child and how you wouldn't trade him/her for the world. Or a few personal days.

Like I say, I've known people who genuinely don't abuse the system and I will bend over backwards to help those coworkers. But then there are those who aren't at work to work; they're there to long-distance micromanage their kids' lives.
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