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AIBU to ask for your best comeback to this work colleague...

(311 Posts)
Seraphina77 Wed 06-Nov-19 22:27:29

A male work colleague today said to me that employed women/men who choose not to have children should still be entitled to take 12 months off, paid at the equivalent of maternity/paternity pay because "then it's fair".

I was completely sidelined and apart from explaining to him that maternity/paternity leave is not a holiday, I couldn't get my brain in gear quick enough to come up with a cogent argument in response!

Help me out mumsnet... how would you have responded???

doublebarrellednurse Wed 06-Nov-19 22:31:06

You can it's called a Sabbatical

funmummy48 Wed 06-Nov-19 22:31:43

I think I'd have just laughed and walked off! 😉

QueenofPain Wed 06-Nov-19 22:32:11

Yeah, kinda agree with him.

Why do you disagree?

cochineal7 Wed 06-Nov-19 22:33:15

Sure. Let him apply to HR for a sabbatical.

positivepixie Wed 06-Nov-19 22:34:43

Ask him if he's prepared to accept the gender pay gap that is bad overall but gets significantly worse after motherhood.

TiceCream Wed 06-Nov-19 22:34:47

Firstly, paternity pay is a pittance and my DH couldn’t even afford to take one week off when we had a baby!

Secondly, I’d be happy for non-mothers to have a year off if they also had to have their vaginas ripped open, bleed for two months and not sleep for the next five years. Ain’t nobody going to sign up for that deal!

AutumnCrow Wed 06-Nov-19 22:35:05

When would they take it? After they'd been sterilised?

As in, how would they know they'd not need the maternity or paternity leave in the future?

Pinkyyy Wed 06-Nov-19 22:35:16

Bit late for a comeback now really, he was only expressing his opinion anyway.

Pandaintheporridge Wed 06-Nov-19 22:38:14

Suggest he puts in a flexible working request so at the very least he can have time off that way? In my job anyone can apply for a career break, albeit unpaid.

CilantroChili Wed 06-Nov-19 22:41:32

People who produce children are producing tax-payers of the future, who will be paying towards his pension.

Job done

Careylisa Wed 06-Nov-19 22:43:04

I think that’s a fair call. But it should be in line with the maternity leave pro call.
So they can get paid their £600 a month or whatever but work for say a demanding charity, where they need to be on call all day and night 24/7 to give full time support where needed and that would be all fair. Not sure many would be up for that though! 🤔

Mollpop Wed 06-Nov-19 22:53:30

I think he's got a point. Nobody forces you to have a child. It's your choice and you get paid. If it's someone else's choice not to have a child but to do something else why shouldn't they get paid for it?
Yes, I've got kids of my own, but I think maternity leave and maternity pay are far too generous. Other people are supporting you for your choices, but you're not supporting them for theirs. I fully expect to get flamed for this opinion, but just being honest.

mrsmalcolmreynolds Wed 06-Nov-19 22:55:15

Family leave is there to help achieve a public policy aim (getting and keeping more of the population in the workforce because that is better for the economy). In that sense none of it is about fairness.

There is no perceived policy need to have similar rights for those without children or other caring responsibilities - if and when there is no doubt we'll have a statutory right to take a sabbatical but that's not now.

mrsmalcolmreynolds Wed 06-Nov-19 23:01:18

Mollpop there are loads of reasons:

1. Having children is viewed as valuable to society (you may contest that but it is the policy view) hence worthy of state-mandated support. That's different to someone being at liberty to do whatever they want for a year.

2. As a PP said, what's to stop someone taking loads of statutory sabbaticals and then family leave as well.

3. People without children are at an economic advantage individually compared to those who do (benefits aside) so why should they get further state support?

There will be loads more but there's a start.

MsAwesomeDragon Wed 06-Nov-19 23:04:28

The colleague who used to say that to me about my 2 maternity leaves has now retired. At the age of 52. While I'll be working til I'm well over 60.

She still argues that she missed out on a couple of years off work because she didn't have children.

She also moaned about women on maternity leave who did settling in sessions with a childminder or nursery. "She's not even looking after the baby, why isn't she at work?". I don't know, maybe it's because she's agreed a back to work date and is working towards that by preparing the baby for spending time without her. Or maybe it's because she's not being bloody paid for this month!

Mollpop Wed 06-Nov-19 23:07:25

Yes, people without children are usually at an economic advantage, largely because for many people they choae not to have children. They choose to spend their money on different things. It doesn't mean they should be penalised for it.

I honestly don't think that having children is viewed as valuable to society. It's not like parents are providing a service to society. They're providing a service to themselves which is fine but they're also being financially supported and incentivised for doing it, which isn't fine. I know I'm a hypocrite. I took my maternity leave and my maternity pay and read very grateful for it, but that doesn't change my underlying view

BrieAndChilli Wed 06-Nov-19 23:09:34

Well I haven’t taken any sick days in the past 4 years. My friend has had 6 months off long term sick (justifiable and not a slight on her at all) so should I not be able to also take 6 months sick leave even though I’m not sick?

I also have never smoked so should I be entitled to 20 years of smoking breaks??
Tell him to pass a water melon through his bum, be woken up every other hour for months and produce milk to keep another being alive. Then he can have some paid time off.

Thing his is reasoning means that really people who don’t use the fire brigade should get money back from taxes and everyone should have time off work and be on job seekers allowance for a period of time, life isn’t about being equal. It’s about contributing to a society and being able take out what you need when and if you need it

LisaSimpsonsbff Wed 06-Nov-19 23:10:09

This argument is so nonsensical. Should people who never take long-term sick leave get a few months off to even it up?

LisaSimpsonsbff Wed 06-Nov-19 23:10:54

Cross post @BrieAndChilli!

Ekundayo Wed 06-Nov-19 23:12:31

What @positivepixie said.

RolytheRhino Wed 06-Nov-19 23:12:38

Eh, I can't see why not. You could be entitled to one every ten years unless you take a maternity leave in that time period. If men were at it too it might go some way to addressing the pay gap.

AnotherQuirkyUsername Wed 06-Nov-19 23:12:49

Well I haven’t taken any sick days in the past 4 years. My friend has had 6 months off long term sick (justifiable and not a slight on her at all) so should I not be able to also take 6 months sick leave even though I’m not sick?

I also have never smoked so should I be entitled to 20 years of smoking breaks??
Tell him to pass a water melon through his bum, be woken up every other hour for months and produce milk to keep another being alive. Then he can have some paid time off.

Thing his is reasoning means that really people who don’t use the fire brigade should get money back from taxes and everyone should have time off work and be on job seekers allowance for a period of time, life isn’t about being equal. It’s about contributing to a society and being able take out what you need when and if you need it


This with a cherry on top.

LisaSimpsonsbff Wed 06-Nov-19 23:13:58

They're providing a service to themselves which is fine but they're also being financially supported and incentivised for doing it, which isn't fine

But maternity pay doesn't financially incentivise you to have children - it leaves you better off than if you'd had a child and it didn't exist, but still worse off than if you'd not had a child and had been at work in that time. All policies to support families (child benefit, tax credits, subsidised childcare) make having children less detrimental, but none of them are generous enough to make it actually beneficial

ddl1 Wed 06-Nov-19 23:14:45

In some jobs they do (e.g sabbaticals in universities). But obviously it's ridiculous to think of parental leave as a holiday! I do, however, think that similar leave should be given for other forms of caring: e.g.for a sick elderly parent.

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