“When the Pilot Is a Mom: Accommodating New Motherhood at 30,000 Feet” (nytimes) is about women who want paid maternity leaves:
At Delta, a group of women pilots have banded together through a private Facebook page and have approached their union with formal proposals for paid maternity leave — unheard-of at the major airlines — because they say they would like to stay home to breast-feed their babies.
Airlines have always compensated crew members per flight hour, which includes time spent on the ground after the door is closed. This is why pilots and flight attendants are so happy when the door is closed and the plane is pushed back from the gate. Now they are getting paid. If the result is sitting on a taxiway for three hours while thunderstorms clear that works out a lot better from the crew’s perspective than sitting in the comfortably air-conditioned terminal.
As few men will be able to quality for “maternity leave” (but perhaps some will in our age of flexible gender?), the result of this change would be that women would be paid more than men for doing the same amount of flying. (A friend points out that women are already paid more in most jobs because, in addition to being paid for more time off work (maternity leave, sick days), they also receive the expected value from filing a gender discrimination lawsuit.) For a given level of experience, airlines already do pay women more. A woman can be hired if she meets the FAA minimums for hours of flight time; a man will have to compete with other men and may require an additional 1,000 hours of flying experience (2-3 years) in order to be hired.
My favorite part of the article:
Consider what it took for First Officer Brandy Beck, a 41-year-old Frontier Airlines pilot, to pump breast milk. Once the plane was at cruising altitude and in autopilot mode, she would seek the agreement of her captain to take a break. In keeping with Frontier policy, the remaining pilot was required to put on an oxygen mask.
Next a flight attendant — to prevent passengers from approaching the lavatory — would barricade the aisle with a beverage cart. Then the attendant would join the captain in the cockpit, in keeping with rules that require at least two people in an airline cockpit at all times.
Only then could Ms. Beck slip into the lavatory for a 20-minute pumping session.
“It’s by far not my favorite place to make my child’s next meal,” Ms. Beck said. “But it’s a sacrifice I knew I would have to accept because I came back to work.”
In other words, it is not the fellow pilot who sacrifices by being forced to wear an oxygen mask for 20 minutes. Nor is it the passengers who sacrifice because they can’t use the bathroom, because they have to wait longer for assistance from flight attendants, or because if there is an emergency they won’t have as good a chance of getting out of the plane alive.
[Currently there is at least one way for a woman to get an airline paycheck in exchange for maternity. If she has sex with a senior captain, for example, she’ll be entitled to $ 40,000 per year in tax-free child support for 23 years under the Massachusetts guidelines (see the chapter on Massachusetts for a woman who did just that… three times). This will comfortably exceed after-tax compensation for a junior airline pilot (see “Professional Pilot Salary Survey 2016” and also this sample of first-year airline pilot salaries) and does not require investing $ 100,000 in flight training, working 22 days/month, 16 hours/day, or sleeping in Hilton Garden Inns (except perhaps once).]
Separately, Facebook apparently values workers who identify as “white, male” more than workers who identify as non-white, non-male, or both. “Facebook’s Point System Fails to Close Diversity Gap” (WSJ) tells the story:
Two years ago, Facebook Inc. offered its in-house recruiters an incentive to help diversify its largely white, largely male workforce.
Previously, recruiters were awarded one point for every new hire. Under the new system, they could earn 1.5 points for a so-called “diversity hire”—a black, Hispanic or female engineer—according to people familiar with the matter. More points can lead to a stronger performance review for recruiters and, potentially, a larger bonus, the people said.
When the numbers didn’t move, Facebook sweetened the deal. Starting last year, recruiters earned two points for a minority hire, or twice as much as for white or Asian males, who already were well-represented within its technical ranks.
Even so, Facebook has shown little progress. Last month, the company said 4% of its U.S. employees were Hispanic and 2% were black, the same as the two prior years. Women made up 33% of its global workforce, up from 31% in 2014.
Intel Corp. has paid its employees double referral bonuses for women, minorities and veterans. Other companies take into account how many women top managers hire when calculating their bonuses.
Why wouldn’t the company simply pay the desired workers more? Would it be illegal for Facebook to offer higher pay to the workers that it wants to hire and who have a higher value to the company than white male workers?
Also, in our transgender age, why wouldn’t recruiters game the system by asking interviewees to identify as female? (See this Sacramento Bee article for how California National Guard recruiters responded to financial incentives by helping themselves to “an estimated $ 100 million in dubious or illegal payments.”)
Philip Greenspun’s Weblog