Paid leave and flexibility disparities might deepen.
Senior Fellow, Paid Leave Policy and Strategy at New America
Members of Congress won’t be able to ignore the devastation that will have hit every state and congressional district in America by the time this pandemic is done. A big part of that devastation will be due to the caregiving that was needed during this crisis and that people—mostly women—couldn’t do it without sacrificing their wages or their job.
Best practices for employers will be to exercise empathy and flexibility. And to show grace to employees, knowing that providing flexibility is highly correlated with loyalty, productivity and retention.
But we are going to see the exacerbation of consequences of “the boss lottery.” Companies with highly skilled, highly paid workforces that recognize the value of offering flexibility and paid leave will continue to do so and might even expand their offerings, whereas high unemployment means companies with largely low-wage employees might have no incentive to increase pay, benefits or flexibility. This is what makes new public policies that set baseline standards—and enforce those standards—more important than ever.