For the very small percentage of the global workforce - working from home is another great benefit they can brag about on their Instagram account. But the pandemic proved to us once again that the people keeping us going are not the ones sitting behind computers. They are the caregivers, cab drivers, delivery drivers, teachers, nurses, personal support workers, and early childhood educators.
These are the people for whom the discussion about working from home, working from where ever you want, flex your hours feels distant and frustrating.
We are watching programmers, lawyers, and data experts demanding multi-six figure salaries while the Ontario Conservative government won't commit to ANY funding to raise Early Childhood Educator wages and only agreed to the Federal government's insistence they raise it to $25 an hour under duress.
The legislation that gives you the right to disconnect is useless and weak legislation with no real purpose other than the fact that it sort of sounds good.
The pressure to change the ways of work is mounting from workers and their advocates. For the first time in generations, employees are in a position to demand more, earn more and create new and lasting protections.
So what should we be doing?
- We should be seriously looking at 4 day work weeks - no not with reduced wages (that would be unhelpful)
- We should mandate that employers provide 10 paid sick days. Workers can not financially afford to be sick. This can not continue. It has been proposed and the Ontario Conservative government has refused to approve it.
- Pay Transparency Legislation will force employers to publish wages and be a piece required to help increase wages for women and marginalized communities. Closing this gap will help create financial stability and growth in exactly the places we should be focused on.
- Well paid and senior-level part-time work must become normalized. Retaining an aging workforce, parents and those with disabilities (really everyone can benefit from this!) will help fill the labour shortage with the skills and talent we lack by providing an inflexible 5-day, 40-hour workweek.
Allison Venditti is the Founder of Moms at Work. She is a Career Coach, HR expert, activist and a thought leader in the areas of women, work, and parental leave transformation. She was named one of the Globe and Mail's Top 50 changemakers in Canada for 2022 and regularly speaks to audiences and companies.