It’s hard to please everyone. Eager to attract and retain top talent, corporations have paid heed to the pleas of working moms and dads in the past decade or so with an array of family friendly policies. For programs such as flextime, day-care centres, telecommuting opportunities, child-care reimbursement accounts and the like, human resources executives have sometimes faced a backlash from employees who don’t have children and believe they aren’t getting their fair share of benefits.
The backlash against family friendly policies
“Employees without children have lives outside of work and consider their needs and responsibilities just as important as those of workers with kids,” says Tom Coleman, an attorney and executive director of Unmarried America, a non-profit advocacy group in California. “Resentment occurs and festers if employers expand programs that cater to married couples or workers with minor children without offering alternative benefits to those who are not married or who aren’t raising children.” He ticks off a list of policies that often favour families and parents, from working hours to health benefits and even company-sponsored “family” picnics.