Work leave for menCorporations that offer family-friendly...


October 14, 1991

Work leave for men

Corporations that offer family-friendly benefits -- from leaves to flexible working arrangements -- report that relatively few men take advantage of them.

One reason is clear and historic: Women continue to bear the lion's share of care-giving responsibilities. Another factor is disapproval by many supervisors.

But that might be changing.

"We've noticed over time that men's interest in these issues, and the conflicts, have been gradually rising," says Charles Rodgers, a principal in the Boston consulting firm Work-Family Directions. "Lots of men, particularly younger men, are in dual-career families. Demographics is putting them in the same situation wives have been in a long time.' "

Surveys at Du Pont Corp., reported in Personnel Journal, demonstrate the shift. In 1990, 64 percent of male employees indicated interest in sick leave to care for ill children, compared with 40 percent five years earlier.

Companies that are recognized leaders in family-friendly policies, like Du Pont, NCNB Corp., Arthur Andersen & Co. and Aetna Life and Casualty, encourage men to use the policies if the need arises.

Susan Feldhausen, vice president of personnel for NCNB Texas, holds training sessions. "We're training supervisors to believe that flexibility is valued in our organization . . . and to look at someone in terms of: 'This is a small piece of time in a long career.' "

Going back to school

The economy's in the dumps, the market's in the slumps and even one-time bastions of job security such as banks and law firms are handing out pink slips as fast as paychecks.

What's an ambitious college grad or jobless soul to do?

Go maybe $40,000 deeper in debt by signing up for business school or law school.

And believe it or not, that's exactly what's happening -- and in record numbers.

The number of people nationally who applied to law schools for this fall's term reached a record high of 94,200, according to the Law School Admission Services in suburban Newtown, Pa. That's 6.6 percent higher than last year and more than double the number of classroom seats available.

There's no similar central record-keeper for business schools, but M.B.A. programs such as the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School are producing smiles all the way to the bank, too.

A record number of people, 50,000 in all, requested applications for the 843 spots in Wharton's full-time M.B.A. program. That's up from 29,000 in 1987, before the stock market crashed.

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