Research backs Thompson's period comments

EMA chief executive Alasdair Thompson fights his corner on TV3

UPDATE 11.30am: Under-fire EMA boss Alasdair Thompson’s comments about female absenteeism due to menstrual cycles may have been right, according to a recent research paper.

A National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, Biological Gender Differences, Absenteeism and the Earning Gap, found higher absenteeism due to the menstrual cycle accounted for nearly 12% of the gender pay gap.

The paper, written by Andrea Ichino and Enrico Moretti, was published in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics in 2009.

It said, “In most Western countries illness-related absenteeism is higher among female workers than among male workers.

“Using the personnel dataset of a large Italian bank, we show that the probability of an absence due to illness increases for females, relative to males, approximately 28 days after a previous illness.

“This difference disappears for workers age 45 or older. We interpret this as evidence that the menstrual cycle raises female absenteeism.

“Absences with a 28-day cycle explain a significant fraction of the male-female absenteeism gap.”

To investigate the effect of absenteeism on earnings, they used a model in which employers couldn’t directly observe workers' productivity, and therefore used observable characteristics – including absenteeism – to set wages.

The researchers said men are absent from work because of “health and shirking reasons” while women face an “additional exogenous source of health shocks due to menstruation.”

They calculated the earnings cost for women associated with menstruation.

“We find that higher absenteeism induced by the 28-day cycle explains 11.8% of the earnings gender differential.” 
 



THOMPSON REFUSES TO RESIGN OVER PERIOD DRAMA

6am: Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) head Alasdair Thompson does not intend to resign after an uproar over his comment that women got paid less because they took sick days when they had their period.

"Brain explosion"
The Green Party and the Council of Trade Unions called for Mr Thompson to stand down, while National's Kate Wilkinson - Minister of Labour - said the EMA boss had appeared to have suffered a "brain explosion".

"Dinosaur"
Employment and Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said Mr Thompson's comments were "archaic", adding, "He sounded a bit like a dinosaur to me."

Mr Thompson said he was sorry for causing offence but stood by his overall argument.

Stats gap
On Campbell Live last night, Mr Thompson said he could not offer any specific information to back his claim, but knew it was true from women from his own experience and that of the employers he represents.

"I know it's an awful thiing to say but it's true," the EMA boss said, of his claim that women take more leave and are less productive because "once a month they have sick problems"

"Outrageous"
National's Ms Wilkinson begged to differ. The minster told parliament's transport and industrial relations select committee that "If that was the case there would be many of us entitled to about 12 years' sick pay ... It's outrageous."

"Walk out"
Mr Thompson compounded his problems with an awkward interview on Campbell Live last night.

Taking issue with the reporter Mihingarangi Forbes approach, Mr Thompson stood up and walked to the door of his office, seemingly set to walk out on the interview.

But he changed his his mind, and after pacing around his office got into a stand-up argument with Ms Forbes.

The EMA boss said he thought the camera had stopped rolling (see an extended version of the interview on TV3's website here; a transcript of Mr Thompson's original comments is in NBR's story from yesterday here).

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98 Comments & Questions

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What a disgraceful performance on National TV. You would think the idiot would have facts to back up his statements...he certainly had the time....but no. Called 'cut' when it got just a little close to the bone. AT you are a dickhead

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There are facts to back up his statements
But would you listen to them if they were presented I wonder ?

Men and women are different, that is a fact.
And there are many other facts regarding the difference if you are interested. But I doubt that you will bother to find out what they are.

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Prove it then bud. He made a statement that in general, women were less productive than men, yet could not back it up with any stats. He had the time and failed. What am I ignoring? I haven't said anything about whether men and women are different. From the birds and bees discussions I had with my parents many years ago, I think that is without doubt. Clown.

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The sight of him on tv looking directly at the camera made me want to take a shower.

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maybe alastair has hit male menopause?

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maybe alastair has hit male menopause?

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I guess female employers have less productive businesses too then. On TV3 tonight he was just creepy.

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He did. Moved on the female reporter as if he were going to devour the quivering girl. I was screaming out to her: Run! Run!

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she was aggresive to him first. re-watch and you will see her pointing and gesticulating with raised voice.

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Of course he shouldn't resign - what a pathetic beat up with predictable howls of outrage from the usual suspects.

Pointing out the differences between men and women is absolutely taboo - unless the comparisons favour women.

A few years ago legislation was passed in the US to lower the fitness and physical strength requirements for wannabee fire "fighters" because they favoured men.

Surely there must be a better option than replacing discrimination with absurdity. Sadly debate is impossible usually because of the hysterical reactions of the nutty feminist sorority.

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I dont' belong to a feminist soroity but I would like to say his comments are the same as saying that most men are violent women bashers. He is in a position of authority he should have given a genuine apology but he did'nt, he is an arrogant pathetic excuse for a man and pity his poor wife if he's lucky enough to have one and his daughters. How would you like to bleed out of your penis Alasdair, yes you would probably admit yourself to hospital do the right thing and resign!!

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I didn't see the "apology" so can't comment but yours is one of them most sensible comments on this fiasco that I have seen.

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What extraordinary mindless drivel. How dare you cast aspersions on his relationship with wife and family. This guy you are pilloring clearly I recall stated in the original interview that he pays 2x female lawyers more than male colleagues on merit.
The NZ herald beat up this morning quotes an EMA board member Laurie Margraine while admitting he had not heard comments still condemns the man. Margraine - tosspot of the century !
PC gone mad - what a beat up.

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how can you defend the way he conducted himself in the interview? He has no brains and does not deserve to be in the position he is in. Anyone defending him after seeing the interview and hearing the comments needs to have a hard look at themselves. Inexcusable.

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I wonder what advice line at the EMA would recommend ????

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Sad to see the self destruction on the full TV3 interview - link below. He is no longer a credible representative for employers.

<url>http://www.3news.co.nz/Alasdair-Thompson---full-interview-with-Campbell-...

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Agree absolutely. And for this alone he needs to resign, he will never be taken seriously anymore.

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Agree absolutely. And for this alone he needs to resign, he will never be taken seriously anymore.

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Any comments on his office?

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His is a political advocacy position. The political doors will now be closed. He is no longer effective.

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The only problem is that he is an inarticulate spokesman (yes -man) for the employers' association. Some women employees (the more assertive ones) do constantly demand greater flexibility in working hours and conditions. That invariably comes at a cost in workload to their non-assertive colleagues (male and female) and a financial cost to their employer. When times are tough, employers are looking for fewer of these high maintenance employees. That is why, when given a choice, some may prefer male employees.

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more soap than thriller

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White Hone

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Wonder what AT's mother, wife, sisters and working female relatives think of him?

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Not only is Alisdair Thompson a fool for his comments about women, he also showed on National TV he is a bully by walking into the face of the lady reporter. What a shocking and disgraceful performance. I have never seen such bad business behaviour in my long career.

I know plenty of talented women in business who can run rings around the majority of men.

Resign Alisdair.

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You mention "lady reporter" as if she needed to be treated differently to a gentleman reporter.
I think your comments show your own sexist attitude.

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This man is a lunatic. When the lovely Helen ruled this country, she would have put him in his place. Shame that now she is busy keeping Carter busy in NY, she has no time fr these big issues.

Anyway, he should be fired!

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Helen was pure evil, God help them.

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So many SNAG's on this list. Pathetic lot.
Wimmin, shrieking hysterical bunch wouldn't even want to keep one as a pet.

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Perhaps rather than posting vitriol on here - people should call on the board of EMA northern to sack this mysognistic disgrace for bringing the EMA into disrepute.

If he isnt sacked then I'd be asking some pretty serious questions around why my business should be paying membership fees

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Funny. When I look back on my career it's actually been men who have demonstrated the the most negative of traits including lack of productivity, missing in action, incompetance and lack of interpersonal skills.

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Agreed!

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No wonder employers in NZ had a bad name - with such an idiot as their represntative. I wonder what you call people like him and his obvious lack of brains - doesn't he waste his employer's time. As a male employer (in 2 different companies), I am embarassed and am considering the value of EMA (after all, the board employed this Jerk).

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Perhaps people should listen to the full interview and get it in context. This man was under extreme pressure which was not helped by a reporter winding him up. The reporter clearly had a prearranged script intended to get a reaction. On balance the man generally handled it pretty well - many of his points were well made.

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Agreed. Tabloid journalists are more interested in making the news than reporting it.

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Could it also be that when kids are sick, the ones who normally take time off to be with the kdis (women) do it because their earn less than theri males partners?
In my household, my husband takes the time off because he erans less..
also has this pretence of a man heard about the men flu?

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This is the clown who takes great joy in publishing Personal Grievence results from the Employment Court and Mediation Service, what a "Chump"

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Poor guy dragged into a no win debate by that bint Council of Trade Unions (CTU) president Helen Kelly who darned near cost NZ the hobbit movie. Poisons anyone and anything she touches.

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I listened to the whole interview and what he was trying to do is to save his face, whcih he obviously did a very poor job of it. he was a prick, a bully and if he can't handle pressure, maybe he is in the wrong job.

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There's no excuse for that kind of comment and a lack of sincere apology demonstrates that he is genuinely discriminatory. Perhaps Mister Thompson should spend less time with his cronies and more time familiarising himself with modern business.

Given he runs a member-based body, the simple solution is for members that disagree with gender discrimination to withdraw their membership.

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The picture, at the top, crys out for a caption.

"It's a 'monster', innit?"

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Looked at the stats on sickness between men and women employees last night on the web. The difference is in the statistical margin of error. He has no facts for his assertions.

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Let's see how the feminazis react to this research.

Don't hold your breath awaiting any sort of retraction or acknowledgement.

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This whole pay disparity has gotten out of control. In fact, my missus has gone so "corporate" in pursuit of the dollar she's raking it in hand over fist .... but, can I get her home to cook me tea, clean the house and so on? can I heck! Me and the dogs have to fend for ourselves. It's an outrage! Bring back inequality i say.

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Clearly women are at a disadvantage because of their PERIODS and need special sick leave consideration so that we can level the playing field.

Just sayin'.

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AT D2

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Fred Flintstone wants his job

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Having employed both men and women in business since 1973 my experience has been that yes women take more time off than men on average. Most dont understand the financial costs. If you have to pay a days sick pay and then have to employ a temp from an agency who will be less capable than the permanent employee the net result is either a break even or loss for that days activity.

Alas as most are employee and not employers the actual facts dont register. Some because they really dont get it and others like many posting here because they are thick stupid morons

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Good that you are prepared to use your name and stand behind your words. I assume that you are a man . if you have children do you take leave to look after them when they are ill?

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What sort of 'scientific' survey is THIS?

"A National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, Biological Gender Differences, Absenteeism and the Earning Gap, found higher absenteeism due to the menstrual cycle accounted for nearly 12% of the gender pay gap.

Rather an extrapolation isn't it?

FROM “Using the personnel data set of a large Italian bank,...'

TO: “In most Western countries illness-related absenteeism is higher among female workers than among male workers" ?

What also concerns me is Alisdair Thompson's statement:

"And if a person's productivity is more or less than someone else, that will be recognised in their pay."

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1106/S00750/ema-backs-and-promotes-equa...

This is absolute garbage.

Most employees are on fixed wage rates or fixed salaries and are not paid on a 'piece-work' basis - so how on earth is their 'productivity' measured?

Isn't it fair to say that employees paid on a fixed hourly rate (wages), and fixed yearly rate (salaries) are paid for their 'ability' to work (produce) as opposed to WHAT they produce?

So - how on earth is workplace 'productivity' actually defined/ measured/quantified?

Likewise, where are the meaningful statistics about leave taken for sickness/ childcare/, backed on researched FACTS and EVIDENCE?

http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/women-less-productive-ema-boss-ck-95820

"If you really want to keep some statistics, look at who takes the most sick leave. Why do they take the most sick leave? Women do in general. Why? Because, ah, you know, once a month they have sick problems.

"Not all women, but some do. They have children that they have to take time off to go home and take leave of. Therefore their productivity — not their fault, it’s … it may be because they haven’t got it sorted out with their partners, where the partners take more responsibility for what happens outside work." (Alisdair Thompson)
_________________________________

Penny Bright
http://waterpressure.wordpress.com

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