Past time for compensatory time

In the 21st-century economy, women and men need adaptable and flexible work schedules to allow the time and energy required to give adequate care to our children, and to support the quality of life our retired parents need and deserve. One answer is compensatory time, or "comp time," says Terry Neese, a distinguished fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

A recently proposed U.S. bill, H.R. 6025, would allow such flexibility and alternatives to the 40-hour workweek for parents with children and caregivers for the elderly. It could shift the private sector toward greater use of comp time for employees who choose to take advantage of it. However, these changes still exclude the private-sector workers who most need the benefits that comp time arrangements give to busy and stressed workers and their families, says Neese.

According to a recent survey by Money Magazine and

  • Stressed workers aren't the most productive workers because feelings of stress are closely related to longer commutes, less flexibility and more hours worked.

  • The most stressed workers said too much work, their boss' behavior and long hours were the top causes of discontent.

  • Workers who expressed satisfaction at work had substantially better conditions across the board, with easier unscheduled time off, flexibility and better telecommuting options.

  • Satisfied workers put in a lot more hours at work than others; the most satisfied reported averaging 56 hours a week – 11 hours more than the least-satisfied group.

    America needs policies that work for people who work; American women – and all American workers – need flexibility, portability and security in labour law and the provision of benefits. Not only will these changes help individual employees and their families but, at the same time, American productivity should benefit as well, says Neese.

    Source: Terry Neese, Past time for comp time, Washington Times, September 1, 2008.

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    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 09 Septmber 2008
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