Cut maternity leave and give new paid leave to dads -- what do you guyst think?

(153 Posts)
Page62 Mon 30-Mar-09 08:16:58

link here

i would really welcome this

cory Mon 30-Mar-09 08:56:13

This works in Sweden, but the leave given is more generous. If we could have it as an extended leave, rather than a cut, I think that would be fine. But to expect the majority of mums to hand over, just at the time when modern guidelines suggest the start of weaning, doesn't leave much time for the actual weaning to take place.

I have noticed that it is rare among my Swedish friends to find the attitude that 'I couldn't leave my dh with the baby, men are so helpless, aren't they?'- which is frequently to be found on Mumsnet.

Page62 Mon 30-Mar-09 08:59:36

i think something like this will help set the tone from the outset that parenting is a joint responsibility

i think women will still be allowed the six months leave-- with the view that husbands and wives get 4 months paid leave...something like that

DH is a bit hapless but it would be great to have the option !

blossombelle Mon 30-Mar-09 09:02:07

A similar idea works really well in Norway, but the money involved is much more generous and spread over 2 years - we'd never get that here!

CMOTdibbler Mon 30-Mar-09 09:02:47

I think its a great idea. I have a number of colleagues and friends in Sweden and Finland, and I notice that the guys are much more involved in their childrens everyday care as almost all of them take at least a month off on their own with the baby

HolidaysQueen Mon 30-Mar-09 09:12:48

In theory it's a nice idea, but wasn't part of the reason for extending mat leave so that more women would be encouraged to breastfeed for longer. If women have to go back to work after 6 months, then the chances are that the already low bf rates at 6mo will drop even further as many women swicth to ff because they are going back to work?

Page62 Mon 30-Mar-09 09:19:18

wasn't sure if bf was the reason for extending maternity leave.
if it was a matter of choice, i would prefer to have DH around more, and just bf in morning or night when i get home from work as baby would have weaned by then anyway
i also like the view that if mums and dads both take leave from work, then women won't be penalised from the onset because men will also take leave when they have children.
i have a DD and fear the backlash by the time she's working

or we could move to norway/finland/sweden
grin

mrsgboring Mon 30-Mar-09 09:28:24

As I understand it, though, in the countries where it has been tried, giving men parental leave hasn't made as much difference in the equality stakes as was hoped when it was brought in (read a book about it when I was first going on mat leave - but could be out of date by now).

Exactly how leaveable a breastfed baby is at 6 months varies dramatically. For me, and for many women, introducing formula during the day or trying to express or cut the baby down to morning and evening feeds would have undoubtedly meant the end of BF, which I would not have wanted.

What about lone parents? Wouldn't they just end up with maternity pay cut to four months and leave to six? Hardly fair.

I do loathe the "men are hopeless I couldn't leave him in charge of baby" attitude, though I do think that stems from the fact that if a man takes two weeks' pat leave, by the time the baby is six weeks old, the woman is more than twice as experienced at childcare and this can set the tone for her to be "senior partner," even if she then returns to full time work pretty quickly.

Uriel Mon 30-Mar-09 09:34:19

Will this be leave paid by the Government or by employers?
If by employers wouldn't have helped us at all as Dh has his own company - if he doesn't work, we get no income.

Reallytired Mon 30-Mar-09 09:45:47

In someways its easier for an employer to get someone to cover for a year than 4 months. I think the present system works well. It makes breastfeeding a child to a year far easier and even bottlefed babies still need their mummies.

Having babies is not an equal opportunites thing. Women suffer the brunt of childbirth and its rare to have men breastfeeding babies.

Page62 Mon 30-Mar-09 09:51:33

i don't agree with the "having babies is not an equal opportunities thing". i think we as a society should as much as possible promote the idea that both sets of parents can choose the roles they want or need to do should circumstances change. mum can be breadwinner and dad can be stay at home or vice versa, or a combo of both.

breastfeeding is an impt part of parenthood, but i don't believe it's nature's way of saying mums make the more natural parent or carer (i have bfed both DCs, by the way).

BonsoirAnna Mon 30-Mar-09 10:00:33

I am deeply opposed to long paternity leave.

Maternity leave should be about:

(a) enabling a mother to recover her health after pregnancy and birth. Too many mothers in developed countries still do not properly rest and heal after childbirth.

(b) breastfeeding a baby fully until six months, and weaning onto a full range of foods while continuing to breastfeed between six months and a year.

What is the father's role in this?

llareggub Mon 30-Mar-09 10:07:28

Before I had babies I was fully supportive of the equality argument behind the proposals to extend paternity leave for men. The idea (as others have indicated) is to promote childcare as a joint responsibility. Having had children of my own, I am now more in favour than ever of ensuring that women are entitled to as much paid leave as possible.

Nothing prepared me for the length of time it took me to get over pregnancy, childbirth and the sleep deprivation. DH and I had already agreed that we would pretty much share the childcare responsibilities, but there is no way he can breastfeed. Naturally, because I breastfeed there are certain things that only I can do.

Now, if we were to get decent maternity leave combined with better paternity leave, I'd be happy. But reducing maternity leave to 6 months is a step backwards.

BonsoirAnna Mon 30-Mar-09 10:10:54

llareggub - yes, "maternity leave" is not "a state-funded holiday for parents to enjoy childcare" as proponents of paternity leave would sometimes have us believe!

Reallytired Mon 30-Mar-09 10:14:32

I think the system of satorary maternity leave works well in the UK. In many ways its easier for a company to get someone to cover a job for a year than 4 months. Financially its not too bad for employers as they can claim back the costs.

£116 a week paid for by governant is subsidance, and makes it possible for many women to have the time off without costing the country an excessive amount. Women who have high powered jobs, can choose to return earlier if they prefer. I believe the EU wants women to be on full pay, but I think this is really unfair.

Why should a woman on 50K and a woman who previously earnt the minimum wage get the same amount of money for doing exactly the same job? Ie. being a mother.

I think that having a year off can be easier for some employers. For example many people would jump at my job for a year as after a year they would have experience which would help them achieve a better paid job. Four months doing IT support is not enough to enchance your CV.

It is grim, but its not possible to have everything in life. It is not realistic for most women to exclusively breastfeed a baby and go back to work full time. I don't think my employer would take kindly to me wanting extra breaks to express bm.

BonsoirAnna Mon 30-Mar-09 10:18:29

ReallyTired - I agree entirely that it is much easier to arrange cover for maternity leave that lasts for a year than it is to arrange cover for maternity leave that lasts for four months (as it does here in France). My DP, who employs hundreds of people, 95% of whom are women and most of those of childbearing age, has a constant issue of maternity leave in his workforce and he often says he, as an employer, would prefer maternity leave to last for longer. He also says that when women return to work after four months maternity leave they are often not physically and psychologically ready to work and leave their babies. He and his company know that and factor it in to their expectations of newly returning mothers. But it is an added difficulty.

GreenMonkies Mon 30-Mar-09 10:23:58

"I am deeply opposed to long paternity leave.

Maternity leave should be about:

(a) enabling a mother to recover her health after pregnancy and birth. Too many mothers in developed countries still do not properly rest and heal after childbirth.

(b) breastfeeding a baby fully until six months, and weaning onto a full range of foods while continuing to breastfeed between six months and a year.

What is the father's role in this?"

"My DP, who employs hundreds of people, ..........says that when women return to work after four months maternity leave they are often not physically and psychologically ready to work and leave their babies."

Beautifully put BonsoirAnna!!

BonsoirAnna Mon 30-Mar-09 10:31:41

Thanks, GreenMonkies! I was expecting to get shot down for those posts!

Cosette Mon 30-Mar-09 10:33:10

The problem is that the current system doesn't work for women who are the main earners. 6 weeks pay at 90% and the remainder at SMP doesn't bring in enough to cover household commitments such as the mortgage. These women often end up having to go back to work after 2 - 3 months, which isn't good for either the mother or baby.

Ideally maternity leave should be fully paid for longer so the mother can have 6 months off at least, but after that 6 months, I think it's reasonable there is an option for the father to take some time off and receive some payment for it.

Reallytired Mon 30-Mar-09 10:39:13

"He and his company know that and factor it in to their expectations of newly returning mothers. But it is an added difficulty. "

I think its better for a mother to return to work physically and mentally fit to do her job as well as man.

I would hate for my employer to have to factor in that I will not be as competant as a man. I think that having to have allowances made for women damages them more in the work place than simply taking off the leave.

As it was, it was frustrating that during my maternity leave I could not do an equal job to a man, due to SPD.

orangehead Mon 30-Mar-09 10:41:28

I think maternity should be a matter of choice. If the mother is planning to bf then it makes sense that she has the most time off. If she is happy to go back say a month after birth and her husband takes so many months off then that should be an option too. Families can vary so much and maternity leave should allow for that flexibilty with couples allowed so much time off but how that divides up is up to them.

TheNatty Mon 30-Mar-09 10:42:14

i think they should look into increasing the amount rather then the time or who the time off is taken by.
unfortuanlty for alot of us 117 does not cover the rent, and i was forced back to work after 2 months because we couldnt cope on the tiny amount of money coming in.

thank goodness im a SAHM now, having to leave three of them in childcare after only 6 weeks would be awful.

im not saying a woman on 50K should get that much, but they should look at how much her rent/mortgage is to ensure that a woman CAN take the time off without risking homelessness!

orangehead Mon 30-Mar-09 10:45:42

Must add though that I could never go back that quickly, I needed more time to recover physically and emotionally, but I know women who have felt they could.

cherrylips Mon 30-Mar-09 10:46:44

My DH would still not have got up during the night time, if he had been on paternity leave, and I had gone back to work. I would have been a physical and psychological wreck.

Reallytired Mon 30-Mar-09 10:50:06

People vary a lot in mortgage commitments. Do you think my SIL should have state help to help her cover 600K mortgage? Where do you draw the limit?

I think its reasonable for highly paid women to be expected to put money aside. For women on lower incomes who are the main breadwinner, then there are working child tax credits.

Personally I would like to see more help for self employed women or SAHMs, who I believe get nothing.

There is already the option of men taking 13 weeks unpaid carer's leave. However I don't know any men who have actually taken it in RL.

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