Essay On Critical Reading Response
In this article, “Win-Win Flexibility”, the author, Karen Kornbluh reviews the literature to support the claim that the vast majority of workers in America have jobs that affects their family in negative ways. Kornbluh makes the argument for the inflexibility that currently exists in the American workforce could be modified to become more flexible.
According to Kornbluh, 70 percent of families with children have two working parents or a single parent (1). This statistic implies the need for flexibility in the workplace for parents to have the time and opportunity to be there for their children when the children are home from school or another caregiver is not available. In addition to the needs of children, many workers are caring for an older or sick parent or other family member. This situation requires flexibility in the workplace as well to accommodate the needs of the worker in relation to this responsibility.
Kornbluh states that many workers are forced to obtain employment that is part time or on-call because of the flexibility their lifestyle requires. These positions often do not offer health insurance or sick days for employees. The Family Medical Leave Act only protects a percentage of employees who need to take time off for the birth of a child or the care of a critically sick family member. This leave is only available to approximately 45% of workers.
Kornbluh compares the model for flexibility in many European countries that have been successful in allowing flexibility as benefits for employees. The European Union protects part time employees by preventing employers from discriminating against them. This includes pay and training. The U.K. mandates flexible scheduling for parents with young children. They can request a flexible schedule that will enable them to be home with their children when needed. However, employers are protected if flexible scheduling would be detrimental to the operations of the business.
Kornbluh suggests a “win-win” (6) solution that would satisfy both the needs of the workers with the needs of the employer. She proposes that a formal education program be introduced that would educate about the benefits of flexibility in the work place. She also suggests that employees should be allowed to apply for flexible schedules in their current jobs such as compressing their hours and flex-time scheduling. Employers would be required to grant these requests unless they could prove it was not feasible to do so (Kornbluh 6).
Analyze and Write
Kornbluh, Karen. “Win-Win Flexibility.” New America Foundation, June 2005. Web 7 Apr.