If employers are worried about losing talent to the “Great Resignation,” and they insist on making everyone come back to the office after a year of not needing to, then they should pay for their employees’ commute time. Not just the transportation costs, but the actual commute. Americans commute longer than any other developed nation.
These are hours of employees’ lives that are effectively work time, at no cost to employers. Meanwhile during the pandemic, productivity hasn’t dropped. Commuting is expensive and stressful. It takes a toll on us as individuals, worsening public health outcomes. These costs to our society incur due to the preferences of a privileged, powerful few at the expense of the many. Like democratic decadence, the climate crisis and untenable wealth inequality, this is just one of many manifestations of a key crisis this country faces: a leadership crisis. If we’ve learned one thing in the pandemic, let it be the power of our investment in one another, our collective well-being. If employers don’t want to invest in their employees’ well-being, or the healthfulness of society, than employees should be compensated. It has an added bonus as a de facto sin tax on employers.
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