We at IWF have long maintained that flextime can be an enormous benefit to working women, especially working mothers.
Personal finance columnist Alessandra Malito seems to agree:
Working mothers earn less than their childless colleagues, but there’s one way to reduce the wage gap: Flexible work hours.
Writing in Market Watch, Malito cites several studies that support this thesis:
When women with children were able to work from home or choose their work hours, their wages went up, according to a University of British Columbia study recently published in the journal “Work and Occupations.” The wage gap between both categories of women was reduced by 68% when working mothers could choose their hours, and by 58% when they were able to work from home.
Mothers with postgraduate degrees saw the greatest difference. Those mothers earned 7% less than childless women without flexible hours, but when they did have the flexibility, they earned 12% more compared to childless women who had flexible hours, the study found. Researchers looked at data of nearly 21,000 women from Statistics Canada’s Workplace and Employee survey conducted between 1999 and 2005. About 58% of those women were mothers.
So how do flexible work arrangements help? They allow mothers to work around their schedules, the UBC study found. Employers with flexible work arrangements are less worried about mothers being productive. Women tend to take time off from work, or reduce their hours, after childbirth, but flexible hours and telecommuting can help them maintain their working hours, according to a 2017 report by University of Kent researchers.
“This contributes to our understanding of flexible working not only as a tool for work-life balance, but also as a tool to enhance and maintain individuals’ work capacities in periods of increased family demands,” the study said.
I urge you to read Ms. Malito's column in its entirety.
I don't know Ms. Malito's politics, but this column supports the idea that the wage gap (which is less than claimed by those who want more government intervention in the workplace), is not the result of discrimination but rather of choices women make–such as to work fewer hours to raise children.
Flextime gives working mothers a broader range of choices, allowing them to work more hours, but with schedules that accommodate children.
Flextime is one way to help working mothers close the gap, without one-size fits all government regulations.