{ "media_type": "image", "post_content": "https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/05/technology/parents-time-off-backlash.html\n\nAs a non-parent, I get why it’s important to provide some accommodations to workers with parents and am in full support of parental benefits. The employees complaining about this seem to be entitled and spoiled. What is the bowl’s take on this article?", "post_id": "5f541f9376f5f2002e3198d1", "reply_count": 472, "vote_count": 41, "bowl_id": "5e6fe1c31f5e51001d267e46", "bowl_name": "The Work-Life Bowl", "feed_type": "bowl" }
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In 5 years at EY I’ve covered long/er term leaves for 4 people and only one of which was parental leave - other 3 were 1. A backpacking trip to a silent yoga retreat for 3 months, 2. A medical leave for 2 months, 3. Expat going home to the other side of the world for an extended vacation since the traveling took so long. I’ve always thought of it as helping each other out and not that someone is getting more benefits than me, a childless colleague. I was able to take a personal leave as well for an opportunity I wanted that didn’t have anything to do with kids. And during COVID my team have all had issues needing covering and not all of them had to do with kids, we just flexed to help each other out. This thread really feels like everyone is out for themselves and f any parent who needs help. A lot of us in this industry are really lucky and have access to flexible benefits like this even if it’s not specifically classified as one to one parent leave to general leave for example but do you take advantage of it or be a martyr? Also, FWIW I’ve experienced more inflexible non-parent team members day to day than the parents over the years.

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I’m wondering if we just have it pretty good at EY. Most benefits are open to everyone (for the exception of maternity/paternity leave). So it does annoy me that some non parents are complaining when they could be taking advantage of flex schedules, etc. but instead choose to be martyrs as you said. Could it hurt your career a bit? Sure. But it can hurt a parents career as well (studies have shown that it does).

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People all saying "it's not about taking away the parents benefits, it's about providing those same benefits to other". Ask yourself honestly, if parents's benefits are taking away, or non-existent anymore, so that the final result is non-parents have the same benefits as parents, would non-parents still complain?

I think it's fair, having babies is a big deal, and stressful, because someone else is dependent on you. Non-parents with dependents, special needs, medical needs, etc. deserves extra benefits as well, and I'm pretty sure you can request for those extra benefits if asked; if not, that employer is not for you and you should leave. It's better for yourself to just leave where you don't like than be vocal about what you don't like and still trying to stay. It's hypocritical.

Non-parents, like me, take the extra works and help out if needed and if not already burnt-out, so we can climb the ladder faster. If we can't handle the extra works, find an easier job. If we get married and have kids, enjoy the extra benefits, we deserve it.

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I’m not sure you know what hypocritical means

likesmart
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Mother to a two-year old here. I literally do not do anything with my waking hours besides work and care for my child since the pandemic started. Yet, im higher utilized than most of my peers. The pandemic is short term (not sure how long, but definitely not forever), and if I'm being honest... if you don't have kids, step up and offer to help your working parent coworkers load. I'm not asking to less than others, im already doing more than them. This is temporary, help me out now and I'll return the favor later. There's zero reason why a working parent in 2020 should be 150%+ utilized while their coworkers are working sub 90%. And to the person above complaining about their coworker not working from 4-6pm, I dont know your situation, but generally I don't work from 5-9pm. I dont expect anyone to cover for me, what is so urgent during those hours that I can't take care of at 9pm? Me not working during those hours hasnt impacted my teams, the only thing it impacts is the amount of sleep I get because I work later into the night.

likefunnysmartuplifting

Also, I’d be willing to step up if it’s one working parent similar if someone had a diagnosis etc but if it’s all working parents that kind of becomes what 70% of the workforce at my level? It’s unsustainable for me and unfair given this is not temporary.

I'm a female in a senior position with no children and in my experience, this is a long-standing source of frustration and sense of unfairness for many and perhaps amplified more now due to Covid. I empathise with parents - its a tough job bringing up children, but its your lifestyle choice. However, your time is not more valuable than mine. I should not be expected to keep cancelling my evening commitments to meet client deadlines or be the one to travel over weekends because I'm "only going to the theatre or meeting friends for dinner" whereas your time is untouchable and sacrosanct because its time with your children, which is seen by parents and the firm as being more important and more worthy. Totally not fair. For all the non-parents out there, try to put in proper boundaries and take time out for yourselves. Don't feel guilty saying "no" and protect your own time. Yes, be flexible and help other colleagues, but it has to work both ways - if its just a one way street, change your approach.

likesmartupliftinghelpful

I’m not sure any parent is saying that non parents shouldn’t set boundaries and shouldn’t get benefits. Parents have an issue with non parents saying that parents shouldn’t get benefits because it’s a “lifestyle choice” (as if it were the same as getting a dog). The energy should be focused on a better work environment (and work life balance) for everyone, not trying to take benefits away from parents.

The concept of a “weekend” wasn’t always in existence. Workers had to fight for that to become part of the culture. The focus should be on pushing employers to allow everyone to have a life outside of work and flexibility when they are going through significant life events.

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This country is too individualistic for its own good. Everything is about what's in it for me. As long as the company is making an effort to help everyone, I don't care that some people are benefiting more. Right now, parents need more support than most others. And those parents happen to be my coworkers. Most of who I care about professionally, some of which I care about personally. Are we going to start complaining about maternal/parental benefits and tuition reimbursement programs? Don't plan to use either benefit at my current company...

likeupliftinghelpfulsmart

@Management Consultant 2 - I know what it means and commented appropriately. Thanks for your astute comment /s

Society depends on a steady stream of new babies in order to function.

Unless these childless people think they won’t need young doctors and nurses when they get old, or young cops to patrol their streets, or young workers to pay for their social safety net, they need to shut up about others not pulling their weight.

likefunnyhelpful

Woah woah woah EY 1 and Partner 2...that would make too much sense! /s

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If you want parental benefits, have children.

If you don’t want your company to provide parental benefits, leave the company and work elsewhere.

If you don’t feel your work is being appropriately compensated, negotiate for more, or leave and work elsewhere.

I don’t know why our first reaction as Americans is always to complain that someone somewhere might be getting more than they deserve (especially if they’re different). You want to know why Republicans keep winning? That’s a big reason.

likesmartupliftingfunny

I see the point.

I had a project where someone had to be offline at 4-6EST every day due to kids’ school. Another person had a 1 hour commute when we were remote.

I was single and 23 — apparently that meant I needed to cover for the others every day. I was resentful that my plans (dating, food, netflix) were always secondary.

likefunnysmart

I think I am reading the argument here as “my free time is not considered as important as my colleagues who are parents’ and that is unfair”

But like... Netflix ISN’T as important as say, feeding a child or making sure they aren’t stranded at school. It just isn’t.

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Children are a choice. It’s not appropriate to indirectly increase compensation for one without offering it to others (in lieu of). I am 100% for increasing benefits for parents... but in lieu of benefits I would think a cop out extra pay is warranted.

likesmartfunny

“Just have a kid so you can be treated equally” is possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. I don’t have kids because I haven’t met the person I’d want to share that huge responsibility with. It’s not nearly as simple as “just have one.” That doesn’t mean I don’t also deserve accommodations and compensation that’s equivalent to that offered to parents.

likesmart

Father of four here. Companies should not incentivize employees to be less productive. Now more than ever it should be obvious that you can’t have it all. You can’t be a great employee AND a great parent. It is time for parents to decide where their priorities lie and make some tough decisions. 

likefunnyhelpful

I am a mother and I have worked full time as my kids are growing. They are now in middle school. I am a top performer and have been for years. I waited to have children (by choice) so did have them later but married for the first 10 yrs without kids so I traveled with hubby and worked. Very enjoyable. When the time came the priorities switched. I still work full time and I mean sometimes 70 hrs a week but my priorities are kids and work. My husband totally gets it and we agree to it. If I have work there is no argument or disagreement. He just takes over. Oh and he works too. I am extremely involved in my kids school to the point they asked me to be in the PTA board but I had to decline. Out of their 10 years in school I think I missed one back to school night with the teacher and the other moms sent me the scoop. I had a nanny when they were young but one of us was with her at home during the day. Never used her on a weekend or in evenings. There are lots of ways to make it work and it’s a choice by each family and it will be different. To judge and make generalizations is not appropriate. I do not complain about my work hours as that’s my choice and I don’t expect others to pick up my work. Let’s be more supportive of each other. I’m all for those who choose to stay home (one of the hardest jobs out there) and I’m all for those who work. The only think I ask is for others not to judge and for those who choose their lifestyle to not complain.

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Well the way I look at it is like this: If company provides a benefit to employees who are parents that cost the company annually $3-5K, why not provide a smaller benefit to employees who don't have children that amounts to $1-2K annually (i.e. for wellness subsidy)? I think it's great that companys provide benefits for parents but at the end of the day, you chose to be a parent and that should be your sole responsibility. Maybe it's selfish of me to say something so radical, I know it's not going to be well received by many people.

likefunny

Agreed with the no-child wellness benefit. Can be either in kind - time blocked off to go off and enjoy our lives (and date and MAYBE find someone to have a child with) to monetary to destress 😂 then parents can block off 2 hr windows, we then work until parents can be back off and then go offline for 2 hrs as we meet strangers that could be partners. Win win no?

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I don’t have kids but I’m exhausted, physically and mentally. We haven’t stopped working non stop and leadership keeps pushing for more and more. In people’s eyes I don’t have a reason not to continue working non stop. We need to stop assuming only children are the reason people need flexibility and time off. Even when I tried to take PTO I kept getting pulled in, and with the constant threats of layoffs how could I not respond? It’s really up to leadership to make this bearable. Except they’re not, we’re just numbers on a spreadsheet. Some of the firms we work for are making billions but their employees are miserable, depressed and burn out. When did we stop being treated as human beings? Because i certainly don’t feel like I’m one in their eyes.

likefunny

Honestly I don't think your struggle is related to how parents got extra time off, your struggle comes from the fact that you are working for an employer who doesn't treat you fair and with respect. If my employer tell me I can't take my hard-earned PTO when I wanted to I'll leave and find another place. End of discussion. Parents or non-parents, just leave.

If I have another element to my life that takes up a lot of time, it’s usually my choice to undertake it—-whether it’s a side hustle, hobby, friends, or kids. For some reason the decision to procreate gets extra dispensation above other choices that people make for how to spend their time. It’s unfair.

likesmartfunny

“The decision to procreate.” Lmao, everything ok at home man?

likefunny

I’m all for parents being supported in the workplace but the idea that only parents are struggling right now is a problem. Everybody needs a focus on wellness right now. Everybody needs the ability to take time off. It’s also not ok to expect others to work around their parenting colleagues AND maintain normal hours. So this means no more sending emails after hours with the expectations that people will respond. It can wait until the next day when the person is working. If something is due, it’s the person with the flex schedule’s responsibility to get ahead of things.

likesmart

That sounds like potential workplace conflict that could be addressed by creating newer boundaries and expectations given the pandemic. Other than WFH, work has not responded well to pandemic’s effect on everyone’s lives. If any wfh has translated to more work. single or parent, the pandemic has a mental effect on everyone. Problem isn’t picking up parents burden. The leadership and management should put better temporary policies in place to address this short term problem.

I'm a new parent struggling with this at the moment. In the past I've also been on the other end accommodating the parent in what felt like an unfair position.

Without assuming negative intent you can see how this is an unsustainable situation for everyone. It really is near impossible managing children and work in the current environment. The problem far extends beyond this specific moment in the US at least. We don't have great resources and support for parents so even a helpful working situation is going to be limited in its ability to improve the stressful situation. And when one team member starts to lose capacity, it's natural that the workload will rebalance and lead to other team members overextended. It's not complaining to stick your hand up and say this is too much. In fact, it's the same thing the parents are doing.

The answers to this are a mix of structural improvements (such as what you see in other countries that have established better leave and family support programs, company policies, etc.) and temporary relief (realistic expectations of all team members, intermittent breaks or days off, etc.). A company is just like any other system that's out of sync at the moment, and the pain isn't isolated to any one type of employee.

likesmartfunny

I'm not surprised parents need support this year. Frankly I have no idea how 2 working parents with small kids make it work. Ao seeing companies provide more benefits and more leave is great. Question is who covers for these parents when they are off? Did the company increase headcount? Or are non parents expected to work more since we have nothing better to do with everything closed. That's where most frustration comes from i think. When one group is given benefit while other group is being asked to work harder.

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💯💯💯

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I’m single and I’ve ran into this in COVID. My rationale is, it’s some sacrifice for me but these are huge adjustments for working parents: not having baby sitters, home schooling, etc. especially if the kids are young and not disciplined, the parents are barely keeping up with work. It’s only short term until COVID goes away, so if I can help my fellow colleagues at a relatively small cost to me, I am fine with it.

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On behalf of working parents struggling to survive right now, thank you. We appreciate you more than words can adequately express.
And I'm so sorry that our work culture has made this the reality for you. I promise to work toward advocating for change. For everyone's benefit.

All of this could be better addressed if we as a society established healthier norms for our work culture. When people feel overburdened for covering for other teammates (parents or whatever), that’s an indication that the company/team as a whole needs to establish healthier and realistic expectations around what can be accomplished in the allotted time.

likesmart

Exactly D3

When I was younger before having kids I was more then happy to pick up the work of parents whether it was to cover a shift or to stay a little later due to the parent needing to pick up their children. Now that I have a child my teams are accommodating and understanding. The goal of society is to nurture and raise the next generation. We should help each other out as much as possible and be more understanding.

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The person that uses children as an excuse just to get out of doing stuff is probably doing other things too that aren’t acceptable. You shouldn’t blame all the parents because of how some people behave. I honestly have never seen that.

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Children are a societal good. The fact is they are more important than your ability to watch Netflix or pursue other hobbies because they benefit society over time. Our joint tax dollars pay for roads and infrastructure and other societal goods. Today’s children are tomorrow’s workers supporting you and supporting the economy while you are retired.

Yes, it’s a choice, and yes, no one should have children that doesn’t want them. The fact is we need better governmental support for families so it doesn’t all fall on companies and individual families (or non-parents!). I agree it’s not a good situation as it is now.

likeupliftingfunny

SM1, just pointing out you are tilting at windmills attacking parental leave.

Employers offer health insurance and sick leave that benefit some employees more than others. Lots of the same employers offering more parental leave also offer tuition benefits, free or subsidized lunches, dry cleaning, etc. Not everyone is able to take advantage of those equally.

We don't live in a world where employers just cut a check for the total compensation and let everyone spend it on what they want. Employers offer a mix of benefits based on their values and those of the employees they want to attract. And sadly for those that are childless for their entire life society values parents' contributions and most employees will become parents at some point in their career and thus value parental benefits.

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In my opinion it's a question of empathy. None of us really know what situations life has in store for us. Maybe you will have children and maybe you won't. Maybe you'll need to care for a sick parent, and maybe you won't. Maybe you will get sick or become disabled.
I want to work for a company and live in a society where we try to provide flexibility and support to people when they need it. That necessary means that things won't always be "fair". If you are very fortunate in life and never find yourself in this type of difficult position, then it may seem like you are getting the short end of the stick, but I would consider yourself fortunate.

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This discussion just keeps showing up in my feed and I can't seem to stop thinking about it. I know several single folks just out of college have moved in with parents. Can we dock their pay to reflect the reduced expense? You may get california salary even if you've moved in with parents in idaho

While I have to worry about job security or forced to quit because others here are whining when I'm battling additional electricity, food and all expenses without being able to run home to mommy and daddy


Life is unfair only if you think it is. Karma balances out. Keep calm and .ppt on.

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Has anyone seen the Office episode where Jim takes a few extra days off work? Everyone is angry until they see what he's actually dealing with. Dealing with children is NOT time off plus there is the hit to promotion potential. Coworkers who pick up the slack should be rewarded in some way but parents are still suffering even with more time off.

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likefunnyhelpfulupliftingsmart

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