Women are right to be furious. Because what is British business becoming, a misogynists’ bean-feast?
Hard on the scandal of unequal pay for women come fingers pointing at disproportionate sick leave.
“An additional 2.8 million days of absenteeism more than men in the past three months alone, ” according to a report. 19.8 million days lost, versus 17 million.
How shocking. How disgraceful.
You can feel the prejudices kicking in, can’t you?
All those clichés about headaches, period pains and emotional upsets. Easy to misread when your own most regular health distress is likely to be a hangover.
Oh sure, some issues are serious.
A gastric attack like norovirus is no joke. Neither is flu, especially the H1N1 variety – hovering at the edge of pneumonia and just waiting to do you in.
Yeah, men can suffer these too. But never any of the other anguish that comes from being a woman.
Which puts management understanding of women’s wellbeing about on a par with that hangover. A minor issue to be suffered in silence against the unbreakable discipline of being at one’s desk.
And does management ever consider the QUALITY of such work with a pounding head or churning stomach? How good that might be for business?
Multiply that hangover several times over for period pain – especially if accompanied by dysmenorrhoea, the days of spasms experienced by many women on both sides of it.
Boiled knitting syndrome
Now try to give full attention to that sales meeting. Or input that critical figure with the decimal point in the right place. Or respond to that crucial client request so easily glossed over in a telephone call.
Just a few hours being unwell at one’s desk can cost thousands. Far more than the salary days lost staying at home in bed. A whole million pound contract and more – down the tubes with a phone call, a missing staple, a misstyped computer key.
So what kind of a manager allows a staff member to influence business when they’re not capable? As long as everybody’s at their desk, who’s going to notice that productivity’s gone for a ball of chalk?
Sod’s Law, isn’t it? Everything drags its heels. Processing gets continually stuck in the works. A job that should take five days takes ten. The wheels keep coming off.
And all because they’re women. Look, that one there, holding her head.
Sure, she has a string of degrees as long as your arm, passed out top of her class at business school – but what kind of asset can ANYBODY be when their brain is like boiled knitting?
Take off – it’s better for business
So OK, women have to take off more days than men.
Let them do it. Insist on it.
Because yes, it’s scary that absenteeism costs the country £29 billion a year.
You see, though the bean counter’s perspective is that staff assets are supposed to perform according to their salary package 100% of the time – reality is that they’re off-colour for 25% of it, experiencing pain or nagging discomfort roughly every three days.
And that’s men as well as women. Except men tough it out more often – increasing the opportunity for mistakes and oversights. Women know better.
Which makes paying for sick leave the easy bit.
Nobody imagines picking up the tab for a string of omissions, errors or misdeals. But that’s what most businesses do, every day of the year. Written off as inevitable – when it’s unthinking management that is really to blame.
Pilots and bus drivers aren’t allowed to fly or drive drunk. But that’s what staff do when they try to function while ill at work. And management encourage it instead of sending them home.
Paying for mistakes, how smart is that?
OK, so the business may not crash and burn like a 747. But unaware and unseen, profitability takes a hit out of all proportion to the perceived economy of insisting staff are all at work all the time.
Especially with women.
Naturally more caring and sympathetic than men – more customer responsive and sensitive to needs. Biologically built that way.
And management wants to pay them less?
AND penalise them for days off because of who they are?
Like we said, a misogynists’ bean-feast.
Lets hope for sake of all of us that more women get through that glass ceiling soon.