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Rigid Work Schedules Can Mean Less Time with the Family

by Rebecca Lewis
A A
New York State Comptroller Scott Stringer released a report Monday

Rebecca Lewis, WFUV

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer released a report Monday highlighting the benefits of flexible work arrangements.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer released a report entitled "Families and Flexibility: Reshaping the Workplace for the 21st Century" on Monday. The report compiled data that pointed to the importance of flexible schedules in the workplace when it comes to caring for family and loved ones.

The report found that 75 percent of employees surveyed say they don't have enough time to spend with the their children. Sixty-five percent say they need to adjust their arrival or departure time from work in order to care for family members. And 57 percent of low income families are headed by a single parent who work one or more jobs with unpredictable and inflexible schedules.

Stringer attributes these numbers partly to lack of flexibility in work schedules. His report outlines an alternative to traditional requirements. He says that family and work demands should be "complementary, not competing."

The alternative is flexible work arrangements, or FWAs. They would allow employees to work outside of the usual nine to five and in locations other than their workstation. The report makes recommendations about the best ways for businesses to implement FWA's.

The report also examined how flex policies are already helping businesses that use them. Aetna, a Fortune 100 health insurance agency, has reported saving $78 million in real estate costs since embracing telecommuting. A recent survey has found that 95 percent of human resources professionals say productivity is the same or better with flex policies.

KPMG LLP, an audit, tax and advisory firm part of KPMG International and Ryan Accounting, an international tax services firm, have publicly supported the findings and recommendations of Stringer's report. Jerry Lynch, principal in charge of Ryan's New York office, says they "encourage anyone who wants to make, in the business community, a smart business decision" to read the report and adopt some of the recommended practices.

In addition, the report highlighted "Right to Request" Legislation that would create a "safe place" for employees to speak with employers about flexible work options. It looks to create formal mechanisms to discuss these options and make procedures to address requests. While the legislation would not mandate flexible work arrangements, it looks to decrease stigma around non traditional arrangements.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has introduced legislation at the federal level with the Flexibility for Working Families Act. Similar legislation was introduced by Assemblywoman Nily Rozic at the state level. On Monday, Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo said she would introduce "Right to Request" legislation to the city council.

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