Sunday Dialogue: Flexible Work Hours

January 19, 2013 | New York Times |  Link to article

The Working Families Flexibility Act could be, as Mr. Waring notes, a step that improves the quality of part-time jobs. It would give a nation of workers the right to ask for schedule changes (but not an automatic right to get them). A little noted but intriguing aspect of the act could nudge a workplace culture shift: The employee who requests the change must put on a manager's hat and recommend how the company could adapt.

Whether the act moves us faster toward sustainable work environments would only be known in the test of time. It is worth a shot.

Our economy needs not just jobs but jobs that sustain our work force over time. While most employers readily tout that their most valuable asset is their workers, too many say one thing and do another. About 40 percent of private sector workers do not have paid sick days, so wages get docked, or employees come in with the flu, or they lose their jobs. The Healthy Families Act, which would set a national floor for sick days, has also been stalled in Congress.

Work is also not sustainable when jobs provide too few and erratic hours.

We have a lot of workplace housekeeping to do; it's a full-time job.


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