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Charles's avatar

Do employees who are parents get special treatment?

Asked by Charles (4804points) January 31st, 2012

Over the years, I’d hear coworkers say to the boss, “I have to leave. I need to go pick up my kids.” The boss would reply, “Sure, no problem. See you tomorrow.” Do people with kids get special treatment? If I told my boss, “I have to leave. I need to walk my dog,” something tells me that excuse wouldn’t go over very well. Does anyone ever feel like people with kids get special treatment? Did you ever say anything about it to your manager?

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35 Answers

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Not in my experience—and I’ve been around a long time. I would say in union shops, especially, the answer would be no. Also, it’s a bit idiotic to expect the same result when the need is to care for a child as a dog.

digitalimpression's avatar

Employees with kids don’t have freedom when they get off of work. They go right back to work with the kids. I don’t have a problem when they get a little break every now and then… especially when it is for going to work….

mangeons's avatar

I don’t see this as them having a privilege over other people. Sure, they get to leave work early occasionally. But as @digitalimpression said, they’re not leaving to go have fun and do whatever they want. They have to go take care of their kids, which is a whole separate job just by itself. They are responsible for another human being, and they have to do what they have to do. They shouldn’t get off of work early all the time or even regularly, but every once in awhile isn’t a big deal.

Dog's avatar

I doubt they get paid for the time when they leave early. The truth in life is that family comes first- if you or one of your parents was ill you would get leave if need be. If you are seeking to leave early why not just ask your boss for shorter shifts?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

They’re called children for a reason. They need more support to become adults. I’ll cut them some slack.

Judi's avatar

The Family Leave Act protects employees who have to take care of family members, be it a sick child or a sick parent.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave.

FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. It also seeks to accommodate the legitimate interests of employers and promote equal employment opportunity for men and women.

FMLA applies to all public agencies, all public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees. These employers must provide an eligible employee with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for any of the following reasons:
for the birth and care of the newborn child of an employee;
for placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care;
to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.

Employees are eligible for leave if they have worked for their employer at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles. Whether an employee has worked the minimum 1,250 hours of service is determined according to FLSA principles for determining compensable hours or work.

Time taken off work due to pregnancy complications can be counted against the 12 weeks of family and medical leave.

A final rule effective on January 16, 2009, updates the FMLA regulations to implement new military family leave entitlements enacted under the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008

Blackberry's avatar

Yeah, but it’s nothing we can do anything about. People have kids and that’s how it goes.

YoBob's avatar

Don’t be absurd!

Currently it is 10:38 in my neck of the woods and I am spending my “leisure time” “working from home” dealing with a “crisis” rather than reading a bed time story to my kids!

No, parents to not get special treatment!

jca's avatar

Tiny Faery asked a similar question about a year or two ago. The answers were interesting. Anybody care to find it and post a link?

YoBob's avatar

Sorry @Judi – I just have to vent a bit about FMLA

I currently have a 95 year old grandmother who is in a care center recovering from pneumonia. I took a Friday off two weeks ago to help her transition from a hospital to a care center. However, I was still expected to make the “global conference call” to deal with “the crisis”. Further, even though I made the call, I have been somewhat dinged as not being motivated enough as I was dealing with family matters rather than being appropriately frantic over the current work situation.

So… after returning I attempted to put down my one day absence under the FMLA only to find that our HR department doesn’t have a “F-ing” clue about the procedure and ultimately I got referred to “the nurse” (who is only in the office one day a week) to provide additional information about medical leave. Further, as best I can tell from reading additional policy information, unless you take your FMLA in chunks of a week or greater you are pretty much stuck with using regular paid time off (vacation time) for these matters.

FMLA my ass!

jca's avatar

@YoBob: I work for local government, and yes, you have to exhaust your sick, vacation and personal time in order to use FMLA.

Judi's avatar

@jca , I remember that question, but I wouldn’t have a clue how to find it.
@YoBob , so sorry your employer sucks. :-( When my daughter had her baby, her husband was the first person in his company to take leave for FMLA. It was really tough educating his employer about the law.

JLeslie's avatar

I completely disagree with the point that parents leave work and then go to “work” taking care of their children they are not off having fun. So what?! I am totally in favor of flexible work schedules, but it has to apply to everyone. What I want to do is just as important as a mom who needs to pick up their kids. If my favorite Zumba class starts at 5:00, I should be able to adjust my work hours just like the parent picking up their kids from aftercare. As far as the business is concerned the employee is there or they aren’t, no matter what the reason. Don’t get me wrong, during illness and extreme circumstance we would all want some leeway, but everybody gets it, not just one particular group.

john65pennington's avatar

Chances are, the superviors have children and undestand it when children become sick at school and a parent(s) has to leave. This is really nothing against people with no children, its just a common everyday occurence.

You will understand this one day.

JLeslie's avatar

@john65pennington The example in the original question was leaving to go pick up a child, not that they are sick. Hell, if my husband became very ill, I think my job would understand if I went to go pick him up or meet him at the hospital. But, regularly occuring exceptions given to parents is total bullshit. Everyone gets the flexibilty or no one does.

Coloma's avatar

If anyone ever gave me a hard time when I was raising my daughter for needing to leave early once in awhile I would have told them to take their job and shove it. People aren’t robots, they are people, and yes, family comes first, always! Those without children just need to deal with it.

augustlan's avatar

@jca Here you go. It’s a good one!

JilltheTooth's avatar

Yes, of course they do. It’s some kind of conspiracy. And because everyone is privy to every conversation that everyone else has had with the boss about why that might be important, about the fact that the child might have some situation that requires the parent to do this, it’s obviously grossly unfair. The fitness classor the manny-peddy appointment is just as important as transporting a child from point A to point B. I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t see this. After all, shouldn’t the little parasite just walk? If someone decides to have children, they should be punished . ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
And what’s up with that business of having to walk an extra 10 feet to get into the supermarket because there’s a “mothers with infants” parking space, anyway?

JilltheTooth's avatar

Oh, silly me, I get it now. There’s a new award, right? @Charles , you’re going for the Finding and Recycling the Most Contentious Threads Award, right? What’s that called in Jelly terms? I’m looking on the list but I can’t figure out which one it is.

cazzie's avatar

Right, we have kids so that we can have an easier life of it. Of course. The joke is on those who work and don’t have kids. Now that the secret is out, though, I guess we are all busted.

/read extreme sarcasm.

keobooks's avatar

Honestly, it depends on your job. I’ve worked some places that managed to find loopholes around FMLA and nobody got any time off for anything. But I’ve worked at two places that made arrangements with their employees so they could have an extra hour off in the middle of their shift so they could do things at home and then come back to work that hour at the end of their shift – and there were employees who used this time to take their dogs for a walk in the middle of the day.

Facade's avatar

Not at all. The US is far behind other countries when it comes to allowing people to balance work and life. This is coming from someone who has no kids. I’d never complain about not being able to leave early for some recreational activity because someone who needs to tend to their kid(s) was able to. That’d be stupid of me.

jca's avatar

I remember being resentful when, about 10 years ago, before my daughter was born, I was at work and it started to snow pretty hard. The supervisor at the time was talking about letting people go early, because it was getting treacherous. Of course, someone would have to stay. She told my coworker that SHE could go early because she had to pick up her daughter and I (the childless one) would be the one to stay. I was very resentful. I felt like she was saying “JCA’s life is worth less because she has no children.”

I have a small child now, and I know my feelings have changed somewhat. I understand now. If my child was sick and I had to go, I would have to go. Period. End of story. Luckily, my supervisors all have been very cool, most having children themselves. They understand. If they don’t have children themselves, they have had to be caretakers for elderly parents, and they know that you gotta do what you gotta do.

jca's avatar

I advise everyone to read the link Augie provided. That had the responses the last time this question was asked. It was very heated, if I recall.

OpryLeigh's avatar

In my experience of the work place parents are given more flexibility than us mere dog owners! However, I don’t have a problem with this providing it doesn’t become so much of a habit that the parent is most likely using their kids as an excuse (I know one person like this which is why I mentioned it). Also, it has to be said that my boss has been very good on the odd occassion where I have had to take a morning off to get my dog to the emergency vet or something like that so I really can’t complain. He even gave me a few days off work at short notice to go and look after my Grandmother’s dog when she was rushed to hospital!

Coloma's avatar

@Leanne1986 Oh good!
Yes, emergencies don’t always have to be about kids, I’d consider my pets to be right up there with children.
Infact, I schedule my work around mine.

I HAVE to be home within 30 minutes of dark for my guys. Honestly, what I have found over the years is that I TELL my potential employers what works for ME, I am very clear about the hours and extras I am willing or not willing to do. They can take it or leave it!
I find that setting boundaries from the get go keeps a lot of stress away. If I hire on for a 4 day a week schedule, do NOT ask me to work 5!

No more being yanked around at work for me! :-)

jca's avatar

I consider pets as family and so if I need time to take a sick pet to the vet, I am going to take it. I’m not going to let a sick pet suffer or lay there and die because I don’t want to take time off!

cookieman's avatar

My last full-time job handled it thusly: You could come in late, take an extended lunch, or leave early for family reasons – so long as you made up the time. However, you had to make up the time on one of your regularly scheduled days off… for a full ten-hour day (regardless of how many hours you actually missed).

Since I picked my daughter up from school three days a week, I basically always had to work a six-day week.

And, as I mentioned in @augustlan‘s linked thread, I saved all my paid time off for when my daughter was home sick. If I was sick, I would still go to work.

Gee, reading that old thread made me miss some missing jellies. :: sniff ::

JLeslie's avatar

Just to be clear, I don’t mind at all if parents get flexibility to be able to care for their children. All I am saying is everyone should get it. Some jobs you can’t. Nurses cannot just leave their shift. Retail stores must be open certain hours. Jobs where a person is in front of the public, it just is not easy tol eave work, and when you do it can be a huge burden on your coworkers. If you work in an office and can get your work done, I don’t care what hours you work, kids or no kids.

cazzie's avatar

I used to have to cover for the bosses wife constantly. She was meant to be on reception and in charge of company incorporations, but she was gone half the time and I ended up doing her job and my own and working past 5 and on weekends to catch up on my own work. It wasn’t usually her kids though (unless they had a court case). But they were fighting the city council and neighbours because they had too many dogs on their property. She also, sadly, had an ailing mother. I could understand the sick mother part, but everything else made me pretty mad. The two of them would come in together, hair wet from the shower and always late. Drove me nuts. When my own mother got sick and I had to resign the job, I had to take him to court to get my vacation pay out of him because he had me marked down for every small appointment I went to (even though I made up the time on my time sheet). I will NEVER work for a husband and wife in the same office again. That situation sucks much more than a co worker having a routine with her kids.

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: I work for government, and we have three types of time off: personal, sick, and vacation. If we really need to leave or take time off for anything, we just have to charge it. You’re not supposed to use sick unless you or a family member is sick. You can also use it for medical appointments, of course. Vacation (officially known as “annual time”) and personal are somewhat interchangeable. Anyway, my point is if anyone, parent or non-parent needs time off for any reason, they just have to charge it to any of the 3 choices. I have used sick for my pets when they were sick.

keobooks's avatar

@cazzie Whenever there is a relative of the boss of the clock, they will always get special treatment. Whether it’s blatant or so subtle the boss might not even realize they are doing it—it happens. I remember when the bosses’ wife was our IT guy at one of my jobs. Even though she technically had another supervisor, the man who supervised her worked for the boss. So he was under pressure not to say or do anything to rock the boat. She wasn’t very good at her job. She totally sucked at keeping viruses out of the system and she didn’t understand why it was important to keep certain license agreements current. But nobody dared to say any of this because she was the bosses’ wife.

That’s why so many companies don’t allow nepotism. It totally sucks and I bet even without the kids and the ailing mother, you’d be covering for her.

john65pennington's avatar

Jleslie, I was in a full criminal court trial one afternoon. Both sides finished and the defendant was guilty without a doubt. The jury consisted of mainly women. While they were diliberating, a weather bulletin was announced that a blizzard was heading our way. The jury foreman sent a not to the judge, stating they had reached a verdict. The jury only took 5 minutes to reach a verdict…...NOT GUILTY. What? My partner and I witnessed this guy commit the crime and the jury says not guilty?

It was obvious to me what had happened. What was the quickest way for this mostly female jury members to leave and pick up their children? Not guilty and it worked.

Its not only sick children that need to be picket up at school, its also children that are let out of school for inclimate weather, like a blizzard.

jca's avatar

@john65pennington: as per my first post, written above!

JLeslie's avatar

@john65pennington Isn’t that what I said? Although blizzard is different also then a parent constantly needing to leave early and pick up their kids. Any small favor once in a while to accomodate an employee is usually no big deal. But when an employee consistently is asking for something not given to other employees it becomes a problem.

@jca Yeah, that I have no problem with. My mom worked for the federal government, and the last office she worked in allowed maxi-flex so she went to work at 6:30 and left at 3:30 (I think it was 3:30?). She didn’t do it for us kids, we were already in our teens, she did it because she wanted to. She woke up early anyway, she went swimming after work because it made her happy, and she missed rush hour. Personally I think swimming, exercising, getting your nails done, putting your feet up; I don’t care what it is, the childless parent should get the same flexibility.

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