Friday, February 16, 2007

Workplace Debate Continues

Civil war rages in the office...
Offices, factories, surgeries, shops and studios are having to cope with increasing incidents of job jealousy — between those who insist on more time with their children and those who are forced to take up the slack which their colleagues with families leave behind.

So one might imagine that this week's news that Beverley Hughes, the Minister for Children, wants to introduce flexible working rights for all employees — not just those with children under six — would have signalled a rapprochement between the two warring factions.

I very much doubt it. Not only are businesses big and small going to resist this to the death (the CBI was first out of the traps to condemn it as "foolish") but this is the self-same Government that come April is to extend paid maternity leave from six months to nine, and which wants to give fathers the opportunity to take half a year off as well.
. . .
On top of this, working parents are the subject of increasing vilification from those who think "childcare" has become some kind of magical password.

Uttering this magic word gives parents freedom to leave work early or arrive late, apparently inured from disapproving remarks about them inconveniencing others and having a lack of commitment to their jobs.
. . .
But is it really reasonable that while a mother is unquestioningly granted paid maternity leave perhaps two or three times in her career, a childfree person seeking even an unpaid break is invariably turned down? Imagine if they actually asked to be paid!

Yet who's to say that going to work on an overseas aid project for a few months or caring for a sick relative is less worthy of time off from work than having a baby?
See also the comments at the end of the article. But don't try to play Breeder Bingo while reading them. Your marking hand would get a cramp.

It’s not all sex and the city for the childless female lawyer
It seems that all the negotiating going on to produce better conditions in the workforce is centred around women with children. Have our childless sisters been separated from the herd and treated as unimportant and therefore not worthy of consideration?
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