Boss praised for response to mum's request to decrease working hours due to parenting struggles

21 January 2021, 12:54

The boss told his employee he would not let her drop working hours
The boss told his employee he would not let her drop working hours. Picture: Getty/Twitter
Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

He told his employee she could not decrease her working hours, but for a very good reason.

With schools still closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, parents have had the difficult task of juggling homeschooling with working from home.

For many parents, this has meant cutting back on working hours in order to support their little ones through this difficult time.

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However, one boss has been praised by thousands of people after he revealed the reason he refused to let one of his workers decrease her hours and pay.

Aaron Genest, an applications engineer manager at SaskTech, explained on Twitter in a thread that a female employee of his came to him last week and asked to move to 80 per cent time.

This was because her husband had taken extra responsibility at work and that they were struggling to "keep the kids on track during remote learning".

Mr Genest continued to explain that he said "no" to her request, and went on to say why.

He wrote on Twitter: "I said no. The assumption was that we should expect the same thing of our work lives now in terms of productivity and time commitment that we did with pre-COVID. We shouldn't."

The employer said he didn't want her career and pay to be effected by COVID
The employer said he didn't want her career and pay to be effected by COVID. Picture: Getty

He added that he didn't want the woman to become "one of the women earning less because of COVID" and that he wouldn't let her "sacrifice her career" because "of a perceived lack of productivity".

He added: "No, you don't need to feel guilty about taking the time to make sure your kids are learning."

He went on to say that instead he is working alongside the woman to make sure she is still productive and happy, and that she feels comfortable "blocking off whatever time she needs in her calendar to support her family".

Mr Genest explained to his Twitter followers that women in the workplace had been "disproportionately affected by COVID", which has "erased decades of gains".

He continued to explain his decision on social media, writing: "I have a high-performing team who outperformed themselves again this year, outperforming almost every other team in my company in fact and winning awards for it.

"They did it with kids at home, with COVID isolation, and with increased stress and loneliness.

"They didn't do it by working 9 to 5 or putting 40 hours of tracked time in during the week. They didn't do it by shutting their door and not seeing their kids or by using every moment of Zoom calls for work.

"They did it by being a supportive group and working together.

"When someone has to leave to pick up their kids, someone else covers. When a 2-year-old bounces into a business call, they smile and everyone understands. When a day is less productive because they can't stand staring at the walls anymore, they get out so the next one is better."

He added that it is a "small thing" and that he is a single boss at a large company, but encouraged "anyone with the power to do so" to work with their teams "from within, above, or below to support the people struggling through this".

Many people have praised the man for his attitude towards his worker during this tough time.

One person commented on the post: "Sir, I applaud you. You are an amazing and awesome boss. Wish there were many more like you in the world. What a joy working would become for employees."

Another added: "It’s terrific to hear you doing right by your employees. Thank you for supporting them and publicly explaining how to do so, so that other managers/leaders can better appreciate how they should be calibrating their own stances towards their teams."

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