) -- At a time when they're still cutting corners financially, many small businesses make up for paltry paychecks with benefits that help employees balance work and family obligations. Often that means helping employees schedule their jobs around parental responsibilities. While that matters a lot, businesses need to take care of childless employees, too.
"In a small company, you're in a stage where you don't have policies -- you have individual deals," says Fred Foulkes, director of the
Human Resources Policy Institute
, which studies HR trends among a large group of member companies, including
Proctor & Gamble
(PG - Get Report)
(BBY - Get Report)
. "But there's inequity when one person has to leave early for a soccer game and someone else doesn't get to do that. People tend to make certain assumptions about single people. They think, 'they've got the time, they can handle the overtime,' etc. But it's not true. They've got a life, too."
Employees would most like to change salary and benefits, followed by work-life balance, according to an August 2009 survey of 1,311 American workers by
, a work-life benefits consulting group in Raleigh, N.C. And while only 25% of the workers in that survey were unmarried, 28% of respondents felt their company's work-life benefits weren't equitable to single and married co-workers, and 25% felt their workplaces had a different set of expectations for single versus married employees.
To that end, it's more important than ever that when it comes to respecting a work-life balance, employers maintain equitability in their flexibility. Here are a few ways to do that: