Friday, 13 July 2012

Maternity and Paternity Leave

I've been reading more of The Noughtie Girl's Guide to Feminism by Ellie Levenson and have come across the topic of parental leave.  I never knew that I had an opinion on this topic until recently when I was discussing my expectations for parental leave with my partner.  I personally don't feel, like Levenson, that women should be expected to take more parental leave than men; granted having a baby is physically exhausting and this needs to be taken into consideration when calculating parental leave, but I do think that both parents should be entitled between them to take a year off from work.  At the moment (as far as I am aware) men are only entitled to two weeks leave, whereas a woman can take six weeks at 90% of their earnings and then another 36 weeks with some sort of pay.  Their job is secured for them if they return within a year after their babies birth.  

In my ideal world, I'd prefer have enough time to recover physically and then share days off with my partner.  Maybe I'd work Monday and Tuesday with at home, both of us have Wednesday as a family day or use childcare provision and then him spend Thursday and Friday with the baby whilst I work.  Maybe, given my own ambitions and my partners, we will be able to achieve this.  Maybe we won't.  

I must say, though, that I am heartened to see that Parental Leave (available for thirteen weeks a year, until the child is up to the age of five) is applicable to both parents.  How disheartening would it be to put my career on hold whilst I watch my partner continue to progress; I've never considered myself as a career woman but recent experiences at my work experience placement have left me with a thirst for more.  And I'm sure that my partner wouldn't want to miss out on experiencing important moments, like discovering their first favourite foods or watching our child develop from independent baby to fully-fledged individual.  

Finally, I know that I won't have to worry about this for a loo-ooo-oong time (after all, I'm a young woman in my final year of university who  aspires to start her career next year) but it doesn't hurt to start pondering now, does it?  Besides, it means that should an opportunity present itself where I can apply some political pressure to change this situation occur, I can grasp it with both hands already secure in the knowledge of my own opinion.

What are your thoughts and opinions on this topic?  Feel free to comment!

Over and Out,

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