Monday, March 19, 2007

The other half

Labour's Constitutional Affairs Minister Harriet Harman has proposed that working mums should be paid sick pay when they take time off to look after their ill children.

This proposition was one of the topics discussed in today's Jeremy Vine's BBC Radio 2 show and as the programme progressed it was clear that just about half of the show's audience was fervently in favour of the proposal whereas the other half was radically against it.

I was a full time working mother for 10 years. I went through hell to try to reconcile my obligations both as a mother and as a productive employee. In the end, finding little support or flexibility around me, I just gave up trying and quit the only job I could. Not before diving into a major depression and jeopardizing my family's well being and my employer's business goals in the process...

It's amazing the number of people that think that having kids is merely a personal lifestyle choice and that, as such, parents should expect no support whatsoever from society in raising their children. No tax benefits, maternity or paternity leaves, no part-time or flexible work hours, no sick pay nor anything that might constitute an immediate economic burden on society is justified in the name of raising the future generation, in these people's view. I'd like to know who they think will be the future doctors, nurses and taxpayers that will attend to them when they're old.

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