March is Women’s History Month – this blog is to show support to the women who are holding down jobs while also juggling other responsibilities.
An ever-present reason why employees are fired or placed on administrative action is due to poor attendance / tardiness. There are so many factors that contribute towards an employee missing work; personal illness, poor work ethic, work/life balance issues, family illness, no transportation. Based on my experience and trends, a growing factor for absenteeism is caring for children. When our children are sick there must be someone to care for them especially if they are of a younger age. When the babysitter isn’t available to care for the child, someone needs to provide care. Let’s face it, our young children are not able to care for themselves. The unfortunate fact I have noticed is that the mother is usually the one who will miss work. Because the mother typically takes the hit for childcare, she will eventually have a poor attendance record at work. Now here’s the million-dollar question: why is the mother the one who will miss work most of the time? Shouldn’t the responsibility of caring for the young children be a ‘shared’ duty?
When discussing attendance concerns with employees, I try to make the effort to encourage the employees with young children to be sure they have a secure support system of family and friends who can step in and help with childcare. By having a solid support system, the mother will have a better attendance record and thrive in the workplace. We all know it’s difficult to have a thriving career when the employee has a poor attendance record. A portion of a poem by 17th century writer John Donne is true, ‘No man is an island unto himself’. Individuals can only thrive with help of others. Women, we can’t do everything by ourselves, we need support. Let’s be sure we have those needed conversations with trusted family and friends to help share the load of childcare and other unexpected events. It may be a difficult conversation especially if there is a rift within the family, but it is very necessary.
Note: there is a population of men who help share the responsibility of childcare. Some men take the hit with attendance to act as caretakers. Thank you for your support!