Today’s Workplace Challenges and Balance Between Career and Family Life

One of the major sources of tension or stress for working parents is the conflict they experience between family life and work life. This paper discusses the balance that people desire enjoying between career and family life. It will, among other things explain whether or not the US government should require companies to provide paid maternity leave. Many contemporary American families experience difficulties balancing life between family and work. In most cases, the decisions of most women to work away from their homes are influenced by three essential factors: children, contributions received from the salaries of their husbands, and marital status.

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According to Lewis (2010), a woman may choose to work far from home during her pre-marital stage; but the moment she finds a husband who earns sufficient income, she prefers to stay at home and attend to children. This challenge of family and work balance continues affecting most women today despite workplace attitude towards them having changed after the Second World War. Since then, women have continuously gained recognition that their competence at work can enable them contribute financial assistance to their families, and reduce the pressure that men experience for being the sole providers.

Considering the economic dynamics of the modern age, many mothers have made decisions to join the workforce; in fact, women constitute more than half the American workforce. Despite there being differences in family situations, the concerns regarding balancing between work and family entail energy, time and relationships (Drago, 2007). This challenge is a source of stress to both women and men either in single-parent or dual-earner families. The balance that working couples or parents seek is the comfort that can make them realize minimal or no conflict between work and family. This is because of the connection that exists between work and family.

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Work is essential because it generates the income that takes care of the family, and when the family is comfortable, one’s productivity at work is likely to improve (Lewis, 2010). Most people in workforce prefer attaining this balance by having job assignments that can help them achieve their family goals. They, also, prefer family activities that enable them attain success in their jobs. The mindset of corporate America is not conducive enough for the required work and family arrangement. This is because corporate jobs mostly demand a predetermined work schedule of either 9am to 5 pm or 8 am to 4:30 pm. In some cases it may demand working up to very late. This interferes with the schedule of parents who have young children in baby care facilities or at home. Besides, attending to other needs of children such as scheduling medical appointments for them may be a challenge to the working parents.

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The United States should require companies to provide paid maternity. All companies should adopt policies that are family friendly. However for employers to be able to effect this requirement, the US government should be the first one to set the best example that will legally demand employers to provide paid maternity leave. This is because United States in the only industrialized nation that does not have the provision of paid maternity leave in its laws. The only thing it guarantees women under the Family and Medical Leave Act is that their jobs will still be there for them after the three months leave (Shaw, 2013). Should the U.S. government make paid maternity leave a requirement, then it should establish upon which it will support the employers to effect the requirement. Mothers should be guaranteed their twelve months paid leave for every child, and the costs should be shared between the government and the employer. Paid parental or maternity leave in the United States is regarded as a benefit that the employer should provide. Only a few workers, less than 12 percent report having experienced such coverage CITATION. It has always been difficult for paid parental or maternal leave to be attained in the United States because of certain business organizations such as the National Restaurant Association. These organizations have made complaints that such benefits do not apply to them. In other cases, the allegation has been that the provision can cause a financial burden to the employer.

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Specialized organizational arrangements should be made for workers who wish to combine career and raising children. This is essential because it is costly to the employer, business or organization to lose hardworking, experienced employees. This means that whenever treasurable female employees report their pregnancies, employers should start thinking of how such employees can be encouraged to return to work after delivery. The most effective strategy for achieving specialized organizational arrangement is that employers should develop policies that can accommodate the needs of their employees when they become parents (Shaw, 2013). Such policies should allow the employer to cater for the welfare of an expectant employee until after giving birth and returning to work. This effort by the employer is also significant for improving the loyalty levels of the affected employee by encouraging him or her to become a productive member of the work force. Even if FMLA does not apply to a particular organization, the organization should make arrangements to provide paid maternity or parental leave. In this case, companies can make private arrangement with employees to deduct a small percentage of money from their basic salaries and reimburse it in form of salary when they take maternity or parental leave. Allowing employees to combine paid maternity leave, vacation days and sick days is an essential strategy (Kolb & Porter, 2015). It encourages a new parent to put altogether the duration required to recover and be able to care for the new born without fear of forfeiting pay.

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It is also essential for the employer to note that new fathers may wish to take paternity leave when the new born arrives. Besides, the employer should make available a flexible work schedule for new parents. This implies that before employers extend certain benefits to expectant employees or new mothers, they should check in order to be sure that failing to do the same for the new fathers does not constitute any form of discrimination (Kolb & Porter, 2015). It is also prudent for an employer to have preliminary plan for the return of an expectant employee after giving birth. The employer should make arrangements so that such an employee is offered the option of telecommuting, job-sharing, adopting a work schedule that is flexible, or decreasing her working hours. Companies can also support parents who wish to combine career and child caring by contracting backup care givers that have a specialty in helping parents in the event that the child becomes sick or normal child care arrangement fails. In this case a new mother may easily take a break to nurse her baby. The employer should have a special office for new mothers to express milk for their babies. The employer should, therefore, organize for a sanitary refrigerator for safe storage of expressed milk.

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The firm has an obligation to offer employees the flexibility to work out the particular balance of career and family that is right for them. This does not exceed the social responsibilities of the business. This is because flexibility increases the retention of employees. Besides, flexible work arrangements are essential for enabling companies to match the activity’s valley and peaks. Flexible work arrangements are also essential solutions to absenteeism. They enable employees to have sufficient time to attend to particular situations or issues that sometimes cause absenteeism (Kolb & Porter, 2015). Flexible work programs are essential strategies for employers to the loyalty of their employees without having to make any significant operational changes.

In conclusion, the decisions of most women to work away from their homes are influenced by three essential factors: children, contributions received from the salaries of their husbands, and marital status. The balance that working couples or parents seek is the comfort that can make them realize minimal or no conflict between work and family. The mindset of corporate America is not conducive enough for the required work and family arrangement. This is because corporate jobs mostly demand a predetermined work schedule of either 9am to 5 pm or 8 am to 4:30 pm. The United States should require companies to provide paid maternity. Specialized organizational arrangements should be made for workers who wish to combine career and raising children. This is essential because it is costly to the employer, business or organization to lose hardworking, experienced employees.

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