Workplace Conflicts Up, Birth Rates Down, More Holiday Survival Tips

Today’s post is a shiny gift bag full of interesting events and posts in the childless community.

1) On the Childless by Marriage Facebook page, I recently shared a post that riled some readers. Let’s see what you think.

“This Mom Ran Out Of Vacation Days, Asked Her Kid-Free Coworker To Give Her Some, And Now The Co-Worker Is Asking If She’s An A**hole For Saying No”

Before you go crazy, you should know that the mom used up her paid time off dealing with her brother’s death and her daughter’s illness. I don’t know why the company didn’t offer some kind of bereavement leave. I mean, she lost her brother. But should she expect a co-worker to give up her paid time off because she doesn’t have children and presumably doesn’t need those days as much as someone with kids? If you read past the annoying ads to the end of the story, you’ll see that her co-workers came up with a pretty good solution.

But what do you think? Have you ever been asked to sacrifice your time off because a co-worker with kids needed a break? What is or would be your reaction? Does your employer have policies to deal with these situations? All of us have times when we need to take off to deal with family emergencies or our own needs, not to mention needing a vacation now and then. How can companies make it fair?

2) A recent Pew Survey found that 44% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 who aren’t parents say it is not too likely or not at all likely that they will have children—an increase of 7 percentage points from 2018. That’s a big percentage. You might want to read this axios piece for the details, but here are some highlights.

  • 19.6 percent of Americans between 55 and 64 reported being childless, compared to 15.9 percent of those 65-74 and 10.98 percent of those over 75.
  • There are more dogs than children in San Francisco.
  • Fears about the environment and the general state of the world are seriously impacting fertility rates.

A related article, “Poll: More Americans Don’t Plan on Having Kids,” looks at the reasons people stated for not having children. A surprising 56 percent said they “just didn’t want to.” Here are their other reasons:

  • Medical reasons: 19%
  • Financial reasons: 17%
  • Don’t have a partner: 15%
  • Age or partner’s age: 10%
  • State of the world: 9%
  • Environmental reasons: 5%
  • Partner doesn’t want kids: 2%

What would you or your partner say to this question?

3) I heard a great podcast last week. “Single, Childless, and/or Struggling? 10 Tips for Surviving the Holidays,” offered at the Sara Avant Stover podcast, gives some great suggestions. It’s only 20 minutes. Give it a listen.

Have I given you too much this week? Maybe I have. It’s almost Christmas. I’m feeling generous. As always, I welcome your comments. Feel free to be as opinionated as you please. And if you want to write something longer than a paragraph, how about submitting a guest post for the blog?

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3 thoughts on “Workplace Conflicts Up, Birth Rates Down, More Holiday Survival Tips

  1. This is a lot to unpack, but first of all, no, the co-worker has no obligation to “gift” PTO regardless of childfree status. PTO is part of the employee salary/benefits package, and there is no obligation to donate to others even given life’s unfortunate events. The person who has the PTO may have other things come up–family events, health issues, personal time, etc.–which require the use of PTO. I think many times people assume things about the childless (more flexibility, less obligations) which may or may not be true. I also think this would create additional stress to the person with the PTO if they felt they could not take earned time off and were obligated to donate as requested.

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  2. The conundrum between the colleagues is a smokescreen hiding the real issue. The employee who doesn’t have children shouldn’t be put in this situation in the first place; as with many (legitimate) workplace disgruntlements such as this, the problem lies with poor management and policies which don’t properly consider extenuating circumstances and the employees dealing with the reality are often paid relatively poorly and carry the weight, hence situations such as these arise.

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