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Article in Todays times - talk about netherendal attitude!!

(20 Posts)
Eve Fri 04-Feb-05 10:47:16

can we all right to Simon Howard and point out to him how bodies work and the impossibility of timing it!

Article below:

Jobfile: City maternity ploy that we all have to pay for
Simon Howard



THERE is some dispute about who invented the condom. It may have been the Egyptians in 3000BC with a knotted linen number (ouch), or it may have been Gabriel Fallopius (he of the tubes), who in the 16th century created a reusable device based on the sheep’s intestine. However, many say that Charles II was responsible, because he commissioned his physician, the Earl of Condom, to devise something that would protect him from syphilis.
Now, quite apart from having pocketed a fiver for getting the word “condom” into a Jobfile column (that’s three times now), there is a reason for raising the subject of family planning and said devices. That’s because some of the City’s misogynists have been criticising female City workers for carefully timing their pregnancies with the payout of their annual bonuses.



It’s easy enough to plan. The starting point is that statutory maternity pay is calculated as a woman’s average earnings — including bonuses — in the two months up to what is called the “qualifying week” (15 weeks before the expected childbirth). So the woman notes the date when the bonus is due; she then adds 20 weeks — to be on the safe side — to get a due date and then subtracts nine months (I hope I don’t need to go into detail on what happens next). End result? Her maternity pay is many thousands more than it would have normally been because she can get as much as half of her bonus paid again.

With the way that women have been treated generally in the City this might be seen as sweet revenge. However, other aspects of “equal” opportunities are raising more concern. More generous maternity and paternity rights have been a feature of this government’s employment policy, but some people argue that these are only at the expense of those employers and workers who have no children.

Maternity pay is clearly a cost to the employer, and so is providing cover and keeping the job open. But increasing numbers of single people are complaining at having to pay the price for the “flexibility” that maternity and paternity leave demands.

Their gripe is simple because they are the ones left working a full week — month in, month out — which means that it is left to them to pick up the pieces when everyone else goes off on leave.

wordsmith Fri 04-Feb-05 11:19:40

Let's all stop having children then shall we. Or, for those of us who know by the age of 10 that we difinitely want children, let's not bother with out GCSEs or going to college and getting good qualifications, hell, why even bother going to school at all, because all we want to do after that is get a pesky job. Then, curmudgeonly creatures that we are, we want to de well and earn decent money, and in the meantime provide our employers and clients with extra profits as a result of our endeavours. Then, damn it all, we go and get pregnant! Obviously, all the training/input/profitability we have enjoyed and our employers have enjoyed is then null and void. We have a womb, and that's all that matters.

wordsmith Fri 04-Feb-05 11:23:47

And while I'm on the subject, how is it that 'sabbatical years out' for poor burned out 6-figure salaried types - hiking in the Andes, doing something worthwhile in the third world - seem to be such a praiseworthy thing in the city (so I read) when they must cause equally if not more disruption to the office than a woman going on mat.leave??

Freckle Fri 04-Feb-05 11:30:41

But SMP based on average weekly earnings is only paid for a maximum of 6 weeks. After that, it is whichever is the lower of 90% of average weekly earnings or the flat rate, which is currently £102.80. So these calculating witches are only going to be able to boost their SMP for the inordinately long time of 6 weeks anyway.

Couple that with the body's total unpredictability wrt conception and it is obviously something which is taxing the minds of millions of well-paid women everywhere.

expatinscotland Fri 04-Feb-05 11:32:37

TBH, I'm really shocked at the attitudes that women having babies is such a burden on employers/employees, especially as the sole-wager earner and wife to a SAHD.

Talk about the ultimate in 'MeMeMe' generation. The UK has a declining birthrate. Who do all these hateful gits think are gonna pay their pensions, be their healthcare professionals when they get old, hell, even dig their own graves when they die?

I really don't understand egocentrism like this. Why have a society at all then, if it's every man for himself? What it boils down to is hatred of children. What a disgraceful poverty in one of the world's 'richest' society.

edam Fri 04-Feb-05 11:55:47

Written to the letters page pointing out that City banks would soon go under if they didn't have all the money that parents put into the economy; or a workforce, all of whom were babies once.

wordsmith Fri 04-Feb-05 11:59:54

Don't think it's just city firms which have this attitude - even though they are generally large enough to be able to cover people who are off for a few months. I concede small businesses have a harder time but, let's face it, they do have 6 months' notice that a woman will be going on leave, plus she will normally do her damndest to make sure her employer can't criticise her input before and after leave (as we women are so 'guilty' about these things). If a man hands in his notice unexpectedly and leaves that day/one month later, why isn't that criticised? And didn't I hear somewhere on the radio yesterday that employers are refunded 105% of the cost of maternity pay as well?

Caligula Fri 04-Feb-05 12:02:10

Is he actually serious? It sounds like a piss take to me - is he actually suggesting that women "time" conception? As if we have 100% power over it?

Can't be serious, can it?

Marina Fri 04-Feb-05 12:04:02

It's in the Times = newspaper with crap agenda WRT women...

bells2 Fri 04-Feb-05 12:09:29

That happened to me with my first baby - my maternity pay was huge. After thinking about it for a day or so (we were in the process of doing up our house and were broke) I contacted HR to tell them of their mistake but of course the amount was right. Anyway, I had 2 subsequent children but on neither occassion did I manage to get the timing right, in fact I was out by 6 and 4 months respectively. As I only received statutory minimum maternity pay I could have really done with the extra but of course it's impossible to time it.

WideWebWitch Fri 04-Feb-05 12:09:59

This makes me so spitting mad. But doesn't surprise me.

stitch Fri 04-Feb-05 12:13:27

I thinkthe problem here is capitalism. now i am not an expert, so if i get anything wrong, dont go criticisisng me personally please,
in its purest form, its about making money, and the people be damned. which is why socialism, and all those other isms were so popular because at least they took care of the people. the poorest people in the USSR in its hey day were much better off than the poorest in america.

my dh is a contractor at one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world, he is paid very well by the hour, BUT should he be sick for five days in a row, they have the legal right to fire him, with no benefits at all. and though he was entitled to two weeks paternity leave, he only took three days off as felt it was an imposition to take off more. capitalism again.

its all mememe.
life sucks, now im even more depressed than before.

Eve Fri 04-Feb-05 14:07:39

...oops by right I mean write.

How can they get away with printing an article of such balatant sweeping generalism and discrimination.

To do a caluculation,
nos of women in city firms = low
nos of women in city firms trying to get pregnant = very low,
nos of women who managed to get preganant on right dates = very very low.

...and good luck to them if they manage it! But as Freckle points out SMP is only for 6 weeks, so its not the thousands implied.

Cristina7 Fri 04-Feb-05 14:14:07

Employers get a 90% refund of the maternity pay for the first 6 weeks and the SMP is paid for by the state. So all that employers have to cough up is that 10% which doesn't get covered by the state. And even that is only for 6 weeks. Greedy pigs IMO. I work in academia so the terms and conditions for maternity leave are far, far better. Rant over.

Cristina7 Fri 04-Feb-05 14:15:13

Should have added that obviously there are some employers out there that give above the minimum requirements.

wordsmith Fri 04-Feb-05 14:29:59

Yes obviously a lot of companies are great. Someone I know is or was a trainer for a pharmaceutical co, and the latest deal they are offering is a year's leave on full pay!! Obviously you have to be a very big rich company to afford that!

Personally I am self-employed freelance so the discussion is academic. I was nauseatingly grateful for my £105/week for 6 months from the taxpayer. Some weeks I struggle to earn that when I work! (But I do pay less tax than PAYE so it's swings and roundabouts)

One thing that made me mad was listening to a discussion on the subject of the fairness of maternity leave/pay on R5 Live yesterday. One of the guests was a female employer from somewhere in the East Midlands who had children of her own and worked right up until the day before their birth then took just 10 days off because "who on earth could have done my job but me?". She also actively avoids employing women of childbearing age!

Right on, Sister!

Cristina7 Fri 04-Feb-05 14:40:02

That's quite disgusting. And I hate the attitude of "if it worked for me, then it can work for you too", or worse, "I've had it tough, why shouldn't you too?".

Prufrock Fri 04-Feb-05 21:50:11

Actually, it is thousands - I know because I have managed to do it twice! (the first time was pure accident, the second deliberate and I don't feel guilty at all - this is the job that I feel unable to go back to because I know I would be sidelined into the shitty roles if I dared to ask for flexible working or to suggest that I had anything better to do than give my life to the company.

MrsBigD Fri 04-Feb-05 22:16:53

just to let you know that that attitude is not just with big companies... when my mum told her sister that I was expecting ds (child 2) her sister said 'oh but her poor employer will have to pay for her'!!!! I was speechless. then again my aunt is an old spinster...

Levanna Sun 06-Feb-05 01:20:04

"......everyone else goes off on leave."

Obviously been neither pregnant or a mum then.


Dear Mr Howard,
your grateful and respectful attitude towards those of us who choose to keep the human race alive is wonderful! Thank you for your kind words. After all, as you so obviously realise, if we didn't there would be no such problems to worry and whinge about, in fact no need for reporters at all....
now, there's a thought!

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