Women and the Workplace: Dependent Care

by : Elea Almazora

In the past, women had been expected to stay at home and take care of the children while the man of the house would go forth and earn money so that they can all live as happily and as comfortably as possible. Now, I'm no radical feminist - I simply try to see it as it was. Back then, households could afford to have a single salary earner supporting their family, and it is only practical that someone would stay behind in order to make sure that the house doesn't fall apart. But, with the shift in the economy, it became increasingly clearer that the average household could no longer survive under the single income system and the women had to work as well.

Of course, before then, there were other reasons for women wanting to work - the feminist movement being one of them - but in my experience, most women in the work place work because they have people who depend on them, and they need money to support said people. Whether they are widowed or divorced (because divorce is becoming more and more common lately) with their young children left behind for her to take care of, or single but supporting a young sister or elderly, disabled parents, a good number of women I have worked with admit to wishing that if they had the chance, they would have wanted to just stay at home caring for the people they love instead of staying at work and worrying about their welfare.

That being said, one of the things that supposedly make women inefficient in the workplace is the common concern that her kids or the disabled persons in her care are not being looked after properly while she is at work. While it is fairly normal for her to feel this way, the insecure feelings often affect her performance. Even attendance is affected, as there would be occasional emergencies that would force her to absent herself from her job or even leave in the middle of her shift. Eventually, even though she may need the money, she would either be let go or resign from her job herself in favor of staying home and looking after her loved ones - some others even end up choosing to have jobs that allow them to work from home.

This shouldn't be much of a problem for employers, as they can hire someone else to replace the employee that they have lost. But sometimes, having to let go of someone and finding a replacement for her can be troublesome. Furthermore, while it may be true that women can be inefficient at work because of their private concerns, they are also known to be diligent, dedicated hard workers who are quite dependable and a credit to their establishment. Evidently, this means that some measures must be put into place in order to ensure that employees who are otherwise excellent would not leave or lag behind because of concerns regarding their dependents.

So this is one possible reason why certain employers have decided that they would offer dependent care programs and packages in order to sweeten the deal with employees and possible employees. Dependent care credit, after all, is a reimbursement for any service - daycare, nanny services, and home-based medical care in particular - or items that an individual under their employ may spend on so that they could work full time, without worrying about looking after their dependents. By adding dependent care credit as a perk for their employees and potential employees, companies have a greater chance of retaining good employees who work at their full potential because they are secure at the thought that their dependents are being well taken care of.

Most of the women that I have worked with who have children or are taking care of a very sickly relative have once confided in me that what had allowed them to jump for their jobs and stay were the dependent care benefits and packages that were offered by their employers. According to them, the benefits that not only included reimbursements but also care service options made them feel as if they no longer have to worry too much about their dependents while they are at work. This would allow them to work better, have an improved chance at promotions, and earn more money to keep properly caring for their children or disabled relatives.

It has become imperative, especially now that the rate of divorce or separation has increased, that women left with young children to take care of are given due consideration in the workplace. It has been proven that women can be just as hard-working as the men - they just need someone to help them care for the young and sick ones.