Headline news; gender pay gap reports reveal that in many organisations women are paid less than men! (Though, let’s be clear this is not always the case). Experts point to occupational segregation, the impact of part time working and, in a few cases, some pretty poor judgments on pay rates. But what seems to have been overlooked are the impact and the value of engrained flexible working practices.
Legally, part-time workers are protected from being treated less favourably than equivalent full-time workers just because they’re part time. This covers not only pay rates, but terms and conditions and training opportunities. But in practice, recent studies have shown that part time workers are less likely to progress in their careers than their full-time colleagues. Reasons may include; access to training, opportunities to network, limited part-time promotional posts. Whilst, in some organisations the position is changing, in many, part time work tends to be clustered in more junior roles. And the organisational language about these working arrangements can be very negative; such as ‘he (or more usually she) is just a part timer'.
Full time employees are also often paid at enhanced hours above their contractual norm; whilst part timers receive extra hours at plain time; this should be the standard for all. Opportunities for bonus, (reported differently under gender pay requirements), may also be restricted.
If we also accept that for now, women are more likely to be carers, the demands of many senior roles just aren’t family friendly. Excess hours or the inability to be genuinely flexible on working times and days will restrict the choices people make.
So, as part of the gender pay gap solution let’s recognise that more acceptance of flexible working practices will not only benefit individuals but an organisation. Be creative about how and when training is offered (IT gives options), challenge the total pay package and how people have access to, open up part time working throughout the hierarchy, and shift towards outcome-based evaluation of worth rather than relying on who is present and when. Flexible working isn’t the solutions to all ills, but with the current furor on the gender pay gap, it is timely to relook at.
Picture: Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_wisky'>wisky / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
New E- Book
An effective employer brand is an organisation’s secret weapon in the war for talent.
Our new e-book on employer branding is available on: Bookboon
Whilst you're there, why not also take a look at our practical guide to drawing up a Health & Well-being Strategy
Photo <ahref='https://www.123rf.com/profile_modella'>modella / 123RF Stock