Monday, August 28, 2006

Parents should remember that their childless colleagues are the put-upon, unsung heroes of the office

Give Bank Holiday martyrs a break

This reporter flips back and forth about how hard it is to be a parent, but does keep returning to the unfairness of asking the childless to carry the load without recognition.
But the general cry to stop discrimination against non-parents is irrefutable. Birth rates across Europe are declining: 28 per cent of degree- educated women currently end their reproductive lives childless. We risk alienating a significant proportion of the workforce if we don’t redress the balance a little. Why, they ask, should parents get preferential treatment, subsidies, tax breaks and unscheduled time off when the childfree are not afforded the same privilege if, say, an elderly parent needed caring for?
. . .
It goes without saying that it was not only right but essential that working parents’ rights have improved to such an extent. And though maternity — and paternity — leave are not holidays in the sun, they are a priceless offshoot from the relentless motorway that is the 45-year working life. After years of taking up the slack, child- less workers deserve a similar break.
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