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Nancy came to me today and told me a story about her open flexible work schedule. By the way, Nancy is highly qualified in her area and acknowledged among her peers. Nancy works in systems support which includes desktop and server software and hardware, end user hardware and software support and systems administration. Anyhow, Nancy told me a story about how her boss, who so valued her skills, asked her to work another day during the week in response to an increased workload. Nancy worked two days a week and was willing to work the requested three days a week. Additionally, the extra money would help. Nancy has two young boys ages 2 ½ and 4, paid daycare expenses for both and commuted from North Jersey. Nancy’s boss was always accommodating when she had to leave early or work form home if her children were sick..

Needless to say, all was not perfect for Nancy working the extra day per week. Nancy never saw the salary increase the first month she worked that extra day/week.. Here is Nancy, spending extra money in gas and day care, not seeing an extra penny from her employer. Nancy decides to check with Human Resources only to discover her pay is still based on working 50% instead of 60% time to compensate for the extra day. After Nancy met with her boss to reveal the missed pay and administrative error the response was surprising. Nancy’s boss encouraged her to “be patient” and explained they had “jumped through hoops” to approve the extra work would come later. I can totally understand Nancy’s perplexed response, especially since the boss was asking “her” to work the extra day! Interestingly, a similar situation occurred years earlier. One administrator was transferred to a different manager who asked her to go full time (she was part time up to that point). The administrator agreed and worked for a month only to discover her full time work was never approved and she was *never* paid for that month. In both instances, why does management feel it’s acceptable for women to go without pay. Why are women (especially mothers) so willing to go the extra mile and put in the extra effort only to be denied pay.

In my view, advertising and hiring women for part-time work constitutes a family friendly work environment. Where part time work turns the family friendly corner, in my opinion, is when working mothers have their hours (and pay) cut without notice or compensation. A friend of mine actually attended a department-wide meeting where the VP told everyone to encourage salaried staff to cut their “hours” to 80% and ensure pay was adjusted, not just their time. Interestingly, 98% of attendees at this meeting were salaried employees, paid annually. Nancy sat adjacent to the Human Resources representative who just shook her head, reiterating “80 percent of what?!” Why does senior management feel it is justified to cut pay of highly productive, salaried employees if they can get a job done in 6 hours versus 8 or even 10 hours per day?

Where is the logic justifying that women can wait for pay or take a pay cut? Why is there an expectation that women should work more, wait for pay and absorb the extra expense for day care and commuting/gas. I say, women should not put forth the extra effort, wait for pay or accept a reduction in pay. Instead women should say “SHOW ME THE MONEY”!!

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