Single Workers Aren’t There to Pick Up the Slack For Their Married Bosses and Colleagues
(Link): Single Workers Aren’t There to Pick Up the Slack For Their Married Bosses and Colleagues by B. DePaulo
Too often, employers believe that single, childless people are emotionally untethered and financially untroubled, which means they ought to be free to stay late, travel on weekends, show up on holidays, and take whatever vacation slots married employees haven’t already claimed— all of which puts singles in a highly unfair (not to mention undesirable) position. It’s time that employers stopped taking advantage of single employees—and started recognizing the truth about their lives.
Single people have important ties to friends, family, and community
Negative stereotypes about single people hold that they are isolated, lonely, and focused only on themselves—perfect candidates to come in to work, or to stay there, when no one else wants to. But research shows otherwise.
…In fact, single people do more to maintain their relationships with their friends, neighbors, siblings, and parents than married people.
…Single people are rooted in their communities and towns in significant ways. They participate in public events more often, and take more music and art classes. They volunteer more than married people do for a wide variety of organizations.
…The financial fragility of people who are single
Years before my employer mindlessly presumed that I had no one to support, my mother was widowed. But he never stopped to consider whether she needed my financial support. Other single people are providing support in other ways—for example, quietly accumulating college funds for their nieces and nephews, or welcoming them into their homes when times are tough.
When single people are caring for their parents and others who need their help, they do so at greater economic risk than married people are. If they put in fewer hours at work, or step away from their jobs, they do not have a spouse to pick up the financial slack—or keep them on their employer-sponsored health insurance. Similarly, when single people get laid off or lose their jobs, they are particularly vulnerable for the same reasons.
… A study that included only women showed that by the time they are nearing retirement age, lifelong single women have far less net wealth than married women. The disparity is even bigger for black women than white women.
…Single men (though not single women) are paid less than their married counterparts. Even when single and married men have the same level of seniority and competence, and even when they are identical twins, married men are paid substantially more. Nonetheless, single men are no less generous than married men in the money they give to relatives, and more generous in the money they give to friends.
…In most nations, including the US, single people are taxed more than the couples. The disparity is greater in the US than it is in all but one of the other 34 nations.
…The real reasons you should value your single workers
Single workers shouldn’t be saddled with lower salaries or extra hours just because they’re single—they have plenty of more valuable attributes to offer employers, based on their life experiences.
…Do you want workers who have the confidence to stand by their own opinions, even when groupthink is headed in a different direction? Research suggests that single people are better at that.
…How to make your workplace equally welcoming, friendly, and fair to all your workers
…Workplace celebrations of employees who are engaged or about to parent a child may be motivated by the kindest of sentiments, but they are painful to those who only wish they had such experiences.
They are also unfair, and do not belong in the workplace.
The inappropriateness is compounded when employees are pressured into offering gifts to the newlyweds or parents. The workplace should be about work.
Any celebrations should be limited to occasions everyone experiences, such as birthdays, or just to work-related accomplishments. Of course, coworkers who are friends can celebrate whatever they like, on their own time, in venues outside of the workplace.
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