February 25, 2015
The number of never-married adults nearly doubled between 1970 and 1994—from 21.4 million to 44.2 million—according to the Census Bureau. Couples who do marry now more than ever are choosing to remain childless. Has your company culture shifted its attitude to treat these people as equals, not anomalies? Ask yourself these questions to determine how fair your policies are to single and childless employees:
- Are employees without children expected to stay later than those with children?
- Are more exceptions to rules governing time schedules and work arrangements applied to those with children?
- Does an equitable amount of childless employees take advantage of flexible-work arrangements?
- Do single and childless employees take more of the traveling assignments?
- Do married employees or those with children seem to receive first dibs on vacation and holiday time off?
- Are your benefits skewed toward dependent-care issues?
- When you have company parties, do you invite all employees' children and allow singles to bring only one guest?
- Do you have paid-time-off banks, which allow all employees equal days off—or do you divide leave into sick and vacation, which allows more employees with children to take sick days to care for kids?
- Do you regularly survey all groups of employees on their needs?
- Do you offer more benefits coverage for employees who are married with children than those who are single?
- Do you have or are you considering flexible benefits, which allow all employees to create a package that best meets their needs?
- Do you have or are you considering domestic-partner benefits, which prevent employees in committed relationships from being penalized for not being married?
- Is the title of your program work/family or work/life?
Personnel Journal, September 1996, Vol. 75, No. 9, p. 68.