Tuesday, 1 August 2006

To Make Maternity leave fair, we need to invade France.

Imagine for a moment you are a businessman and you have 5 people working for you. They are all equally responsible, hard working and competent. But the male workers get all the really important jobs and the key client relationships. Clear sexism, right? Or good business risk management?

Maternity leave is 26 weeks and is compulsory for all employees- regardless of how long they have been working – in theory a woman could tip up 3 months pregnant, not showing and work for 6 months, before buggering off for 6 months on the company payroll. Why would you risk 20% of your turnover to something as inevitable as childbirth – especially when it can be avoided?
Now I’m infavour of maternity leave – mums should bond with their children. And I’m in favour of equal rights for the ladies – they shouldn’t be penalised professionally for fertility. So by this rationale, you need to have men be just as risky to employ as women, giving no excuses to employers to discriminate. This is the rationale behind paternity leave, and men likewise need to bond with sprogs. The problem is men dislike screaming brats, and can’t wait to get back in the office to get away from the squawking thing which appears to have eaten the part of the brain responsible for his wife’s ability to converse with grown-ups. Men don’t take up paternity leave. We’re back to square one.
TA mobilised service, at 6 months per tour, is about the same as maternity leave. Unfortunately Iraq and the ‘Stan just don’t provide the opportunities for the million or so men of Child-Bearing age in the British population.
We need a proper war. France anyone? Let's take back Normandy and Aquitaine. And all in the name of Gender equality.

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