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I believe the suggestions are all entirely sensible, and that they will help businesses as well as individuals. The provisions relating to paid parental leave and flexible working shared between mothers and fathers are also hugely important in overcoming deeply ingrained sex discrimination in recruitment and employment (particularly in the field of promotion/prospects) of women in the workplace. I believe the propsed provisions will do a great deal to advance equality and demonstrate to the rest of Europe/ the world that Britain is forward thinking and that our practices match our rhetoric.
The most significant of the proposed changes is that statutory maternity pay, which is currently paid for 33 weeks, will be paid for only 18 weeks. Therefore, I object in the strongest possible terms to these cuts!
The consultation paper states: “With the reduction in maternity leave to 18 weeks, there will be 34 weeks of leave currently available to mothers that will be unallocated. We propose that this becomes available to parents as flexible parental leave. There will similarly be 21 weeks of maternity pay which we propose to reallocate as parental pay. We intend that the existing system of SMP and MA would be replicated with statutory shared parental pay and parental allowance.” So the pay situation won’t change- it will just be more flexible between parents.
I was bullied out of my senior management job when I became pregnant. Their profits fell by 40% and they lost all the key clients I had developed for them. When I sought work again after taking “maternity leave”, the first job I was sacked from due to taking a week off sick and a day off due to my child being sick. In the next job I got I have again been threatened with the sack due to constraints placed upon me by childcare responsibilities. I do not think your proposals will make much difference to the level of discrimunation that women experience in the workplace.
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As an employer, concerned with the implicatons of leave being allowed to be taken in blocks or on part time basis. Esepcially concerned with the impact this will have on materity cover employees and their contracts.
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I think this is potentially the best policy to come out of this government, or any other government. I see the inequalities between maternal and paternal leave as one of the biggest deterrents for living in the UK, and as a woman, I feel as if my career prospects have been actively harmed by previous policies. Really well done for changing the out-dated, ancient view that only mothers are capable of taking care of children.
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The whole problem with all of this legislation is that is has been developed by people who have no understanding of the real world of the private sector.
It therefore starts from a completely flawed position. Unlike the public sector where a huge percentage of the workforce do almost no work whatsoever, and therefor the odd one or even hundreds of absentees makes no difference at all within a SME one employee can be critical to the company’s performance.
The whole problem with your argument, Mike, is that you clearly know as little about the public sector as you claim legislators know of the private.
As someone who has worked in both sectors and can assure you there are hard workers and slackers in both.
Your comment just isn’t helpful and is ill informed.
I think that the suggested changes are mainly positive. The change from “maternity” to “parental” leave should help to reduce the extent to which employers avoid recruiting or promoting women of “childbearing age”.
I’ve been turned down for every job where I’ve talked about flexible working at interview, and generally been successful when I’ve kept mum until the job offer. I don’t think this is a good way of dealing with the issue, but interviews are inherently subjective, and its natural that you’ll be at a disadvantage if the interviewers believe that you are going to be less productive than the next (full time) candidate. Therefore I’m really sceptical of the plan to “work with employers to encourage them to consider flexible working before appointing staff, and discuss flexibility at interview”.
I think changing maternity leave to parental leave is a great idea. Hopefully it will lead to a greater take up by men, thereby reducing job discrimination against women of a child bearing age (a la Alan Sugar) and perhaps even helping to one day reduce the still shameful pay gap between men and women.
I commend those of these proposals which will force employers to see how it is in their bottom line interest to enable parents and carers, as well as others, to work flexibly in a variety of ways which suit the modern lifestyle.
In my long experience – 45 years in business in various sectors – flexible working cuts down staff turnover, which can be expensive, and creates a much happier and very much more productive workforce.
Equal pay should be a no brainer. There is no reason in this day and age, with flexible working easily fitting into most business procedures and systems, that everyone should not be paid equally if they do the same or a similar job.
I’m glad that this Government is continuing to plug away at reducing the still shocking disparities that exist (and in so doing to build on the real achievements of the last Government), and am very much in favour of the concept of parental leave. Until fathers truly begin to assume real (and ‘conflicting’) care responsibilities (something I never truly did, despite ‘speaking the speak’), then the move towards genuine and mutually productive work/life balance just won’t happen.
This is a great step forward in beginning to take the pressure off women to be the sole caregiver and off men to be the sole provider. Allowing family more choice and flexibility when trying to work and start a family can only be a good thing.
good work but i think insufficient attention is paid to the other end of life; most of the care for the elderly falls on women when they are often still in full time employment, over 60, and sometimes not in robust health.
The paper is interesting and moving in the right direction.
However, I feel strongly that maternity leave should be 24 weeks rather than 18 weeks, to allow for exclusive breastfeeding up to six months if that’s what the mother wants. I recognise that parental leave could be used to cover this gap, but some women may not feel able to take it. Plus, will jobs be protected for the full six months as they are now? If not, many women will feel they have to go back after 18 weeks.
Reading some comments here (which I am sure are not widely held views), I can see why governments need to legislate to protect parents’ right to leave and employees in general’s right to annual leave. It is ironic is it not that those who complain about the breakdown of family and community are often those who most contribute to it through so called ‘ competitive workplace practices’ such as the reduction of leave and employee rights.
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