Today’s post was shared by the U.S. Labor Department and comes from www.huffingtonpost.com
Even though National Work and Families Month was in October, I think this topic is a good discussion to encourage employers and business owners to consider anytime during the year. As we have discussed in the past, not everyone has the luxury of benefits at their jobs. But benefits can be an extremely important part of the overall compensation package, including paid sick leave and workplace flexibility. As is evidenced below, employers can also reap great benefits from providing such flexibility, especially when it comes to increased worker loyalty and productivity. That includes offering schedules that are concrete for workers so they don’t have to “choose between … job or … family.” In addition, there are definitely benefits of goodwill and there might even be cost savings when a person, regardless of job, stays home when sick, instead of passing the illness around the workplace and other workers taking that illness home to loved ones. Another example is for anyone who drives for work. A sickness on the road and working while sick could very quickly become an employer’s safety issue that could endanger both the employee and the general public, if being forced to work led to an accident.
A March 2014 article by Bryce Covert discusses the reality of what paid sick leave (and I would argue workplace flexibility) did in one state, in addition to humanizing service-sector workers and spreading caregiver tasks out over more family members. Researchers Eileen Appelbaum and Ruth Milkman from the Center for Economic and Policy Research surveyed Connecticut employers and “they found that ‘everything they were worried about, that workers would take all the time available, employees would abuse it, did not happen,’ she said.”
“Only 11 percent of Connecticut’s businesses had costs increase by 3 percent or more, their study found, while about two-thirds said there was either no cost or a small one. The vast majority said there were no cases of abuse. In fact, while the law provides workers with five paid sick days a year, on average they use just four. Half of them used three days or fewer, and a third didn’t take any at all. ‘It’s not that you give workers a paid sick day and they run out and use every single one,’ Appelbaum noted. ‘From the point of view of employees, these paid sick days are a form of insurance,’ and workers hold on to them in case they need them in the future.”
Because as you should read below, regardless of the size or type of business, in the long run, workplace flexibility can be very good for business.
Small business owners know that things don’t always go as planned, and the same is true for their employees. Even the family responsibilities that we can plan for sometimes require a balancing act: nearly two-thirds of American women with a 1-year-old child are in the labor force, and approximately 16.8 million adults over 55 years of age provide unpaid care for elderly loved ones. That’s why workplace flexibility policies that allow employees to balance the demands of work and home are vitally important − especially paid sick days, paid parental leave and flexible scheduling.
These policies also give employers a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining top talent, increase employee creativity, increase productivity, increase profitability, and boost employee morale.
Many large companies have made headlines when offering workplace flexibility policies (Netflix, Google and Microsoft to name a few), but flexible workplace policies are good for small businesses, too.
During National Work and Families Month, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Labor Department are supporting businesses’ efforts to make the country’s workplaces more fair and family-friendly by creating a Workplace Flexibility Toolkit. It’s full of helpful tips and ideas to help small businesses implement smart workplace flexibility policies.
Small businesses all over the country already are reaping the benefits of such policies:
“Years ago my husband, John, and I decided to offer…