Glenn Fletcher, after being laid off from a lumber mill during the financial crisis, found a new career in nursing. And with it, “a really good feeling putting your head on the pillow realizing you’ve helped other people.”
The experiences of male nurses offer lessons that could help address a problem of our time: how to prepare workers for the fastest-growing jobs, at a time when more than a quarter of men are not in the labor force.
Only 13 percent of nurses in the United States are men, but that share has grown steadily since 1960, when the number was 2 percent, according to a working paper published in October by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.
“It’s not a flood, but it’s a change,” said Abigail Wozniak, an economist at the University of Notre Dame, who wrote the paper with Elizabeth Munnich, an economist at the University of Louisville. The biggest drivers, they found, were the changing economy and expanding gender roles.
We talked to a dozen male nurses, with various career paths and specialties, working in the Pacific Northwest, where recruitment efforts have focused on bringing men into nursing. Some were drawn to the caregiving, others to the adrenaline of the work. It’s a reliable, well-paying job at a time when that’s hard to come by, they said, but also one they feel proud of.
Women have been entering male-dominated fields for decades, but it’s less common for a predominantly female occupation to have a substantial increase in its share of men. Yet the jobs that are shrinking tend to be male ones, and those that are growing are mostly female.
Nursing is no paragon of gender equality: Even though men are a minority in the field, they are paid more than women. The stigma against men still runs deep, particularly among older patients and in parts of the country with more traditional gender roles, nurses said. (Several said the movie “Meet the Parents,” in which Ben Stiller played a nurse whose girlfriend’s father wasn’t thrilled about his career, didn’t help.)
But for some men, the notion that caregiving jobs are women’s work is outdated. Progressive attitudes about gender roles, as measured by the General Social Survey, were associated with more men who entered nursing, the new paper found.
立法院1月通過勞動基準法（the Labor Standards Act）修正案，規定在特殊情況下，輪班間隔（rest time between shifts）可從至少11小時縮短為8小時，引發護理基層反彈，十多個護理師產業工會到衛福部抗議，要衛福部別當「血汗幫凶」（an accomplice of blood-and-sweat working conditions）。衛福部則表示，護理人員仍以維持11小時輪班間隔為主，只有在發生重大災害、突發事故及嚴重疫情時，才可透過勞資協商（labor-management negotiations）將輪班間隔縮短為8小時。
Salaried or Hourly? The Gaps in Family-Friendly Policies Begin to Close美企安家政策 惠及時薪員工
文/Claire Cain Miller
As the labor market tightens, employers have been competing for highly educated workers by trying to make it easier for them to do their jobs and also have families — benefits like egg freezing or reduced schedules for new parents.
Now, some employers are beginning to address the same challenge for lower-wage workers, starting with paid family leave.
Starbucks last month announced raises and stock grants for all employees in the United States, along with new benefits aimed specifically at workers with family caregiving responsibilities: paid time off to care for sick family members and paid paternity leave for hourly employees.
It followed the announcement by Walmart last month that it was raising pay and adding family-friendly benefits. It gave full-time hourly workers the same paid parental leave as salaried ones and said it would help pay for adoptions, including for hourly workers.
It’s a sign that the effects of low unemployment have reached companies that rely on low-wage workers. Both companies also credited tax cuts.
“It brings the talent we’re looking for, and industry-leading retention,” said Reggie Borges, a Starbucks spokesman. The company had been planning to add benefits for a while, he said, but the corporate tax cuts “were an accelerator.”
By focusing on family-friendly benefits, companies are also catching up to the fact that family life has changed faster than workplace or public policies. In families of all income levels, it’s more common for both parents to work or women to be the breadwinners, and the lack of family-friendly benefits has led to declining labor force participation as people struggle to combine work and parenthood.
Benefits like paid parental leave are a crucial factor for people, especially women, in continuing to work. Yet hourly workers, who generally have the most need for paid parental leave, have also been the least likely to get it. Only recently have more companies begun to change that.
The United States is the only industrialized country not to mandate paid parental leave. Employers choose whether and how much to offer, and this varies greatly. Of the 20 largest employers, all but one, Lowe’s, offer some form of paid parental leave. Eight of them give hourly employees less than salaried employees — in time, pay or both — including Starbucks and General Electric, according to a Times analysis.