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Is Statutory Maternity Leave sexist?

(37 Posts)
Pregnantabroad Thu 18-Feb-16 21:12:43

Instinctively I feel like statutory maternity leave is sexist but I'm struggling to articulate my argument. Any thoughts?

GingerCuddleMonsterThe2nd Thu 18-Feb-16 21:14:48

Sexist in what way? Towards men? Or women? confused

Creatureofthenight Thu 18-Feb-16 21:15:12

I thought it got changed to parental leave which can be shared?

EElisavetaOfBelsornia Thu 18-Feb-16 21:16:36

I sort of understand - two people create a baby, one does the carrying, birthing and often feeding (and usually the vast majority of early care), that one also takes the hit financially. Is that what you mean?

SecretSpy Thu 18-Feb-16 21:16:38

Do you mean the mandatory mat leave for 2/4 weeks that is not optional? Or the general concept of leave to care for a new member of the family?

madamginger Thu 18-Feb-16 21:17:35

Why would it be sexist? Surely it's to allow mum to recover from the birth and bond with baby. When I had DD I felt like I'd been hit with a bus for a month afterwards whilst I recovered

OddBoots Thu 18-Feb-16 21:18:29

You mean the bit that says "you must take 2 weeks’ leave after your baby is born (or 4 weeks if you work in a factory)."?

It reads at first look a bit patronising in mandating something when no other medical or biological cause gives such a prescriptive rule to an adult. I suspect the history is as protection from pushy employers though.

EElisavetaOfBelsornia Thu 18-Feb-16 21:20:38

Oh did I get totally the wrong end of the stick? blush

TBH about the only time I have felt more fortunate than DH because of my sex was when I was on maternity leave.

Pregnantabroad Thu 18-Feb-16 21:27:27

I mean sexist in that it is unfair on women to pay them so little. IE full pay for a year would be equality.

kinkytoes Thu 18-Feb-16 21:29:24

If that were to happen the leave would be shorter. It's public money remember.

PennyHasNoSurname Thu 18-Feb-16 21:29:33

Why is full pay for a year equal? Why is either sex entitled to a year off work on full pay to stay at home with their baby?

GingerCuddleMonsterThe2nd Thu 18-Feb-16 21:30:06

An employer can't pay someone full pay when they are not doing their job?! [hmm. It would be unfair on the employer surely.

Pregnantabroad Thu 18-Feb-16 21:30:20

Sorry - just realised that my opening line was not clear at all! My question should have read: Is it sexist that women have to take a massive pay cut (through SML) in order to have children? And therefore, is it sexist of companies not to offer more than SML?

Run247 Thu 18-Feb-16 21:31:03

Would that not be unfair for those who choose not to have children? Maybe they could just have a random year off work and be paid for a full year?

OddBoots Thu 18-Feb-16 21:31:39

Isn't the rate of pay the same for men who share parental leave? I don't know how that bit works as my children are older but I thought it was a lot more equal now.

museumum Thu 18-Feb-16 21:31:57

I survived on MA as I'm self employed. It was same amount as stat pay. Most people I know got more from their employer at least for the first months.
I think stat may pay should be set at equivalent to NMW.

slebmum1 Thu 18-Feb-16 21:32:11

Women fought for mat leave - it's not sexist!

It wouldn't be financially viable for small companies to offer enhanced mat leave.

WidowWadman Thu 18-Feb-16 21:32:18

Who would finance full pay for a year? Some large organisations offer enhanced maternity pay for a certain amount of time, but I guess many SME s couldn't afford that and if mandated would just look to avoid employing women altogether.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pregnantabroad Thu 18-Feb-16 21:45:22

All interesting thoughts.

EElisavetaOfBelsornia Thu 18-Feb-16 21:47:09

Oh, I was right. Phew.

I agree that a year's full pay would be unaffordable, and unfair in those who don't or can't have children. However, it is true that having a child means a woman takes an immediate financial hit - in any fair relationship that's shared but that's not mandated. And longer term women's career progression is delayed by maternity leave and parenting. So OP has a point about sexism though I think capitalism is largely at fault. More family time would benefit men, women and children.

kinkytoes Thu 18-Feb-16 21:49:56

So long as women bear children and men don't, things will never be completely equal.

AStreetcarNamedBob Thu 18-Feb-16 21:50:11

But women DONT HAVE TO take a massive pay cut? It's parental leave not maternity leave now.

You're welcome to stroll right back to work and leave the father with the baby for a year on statutory pay.

So no it's not sexist.

hedgehogsdontbite Thu 18-Feb-16 21:57:22

I live in Sweden. We have equality when it comes to working and having a baby. Parental leave is approximately 6 months for each parent. Statutory pay is 80% of your salary for the whole period. Majority of employers top it up to 100%. Plus you can take your leave when you like in the first 8 years.

When DS was born my DH took a month off. Then worked a 3 day week until he was 6 months old and then a 4 day week until he'd used up all his days, at about 18 months.

VestalVirgin Wed 24-Feb-16 11:00:23

The pay should be 100% for as long as the woman needs to recover from the birth. I don't know, four weeks or so?

Pretending that giving birth doesn't have a massive impact on a woman's health is stupid and, yes, sexist.

That parental leave is not paid well enough is not technically sexist, though I suspect it mainly affects women. But it is stupid. Germany, at least, is worried about low birth rates, and ... yeah, well, I can see why people aren't choosing to have more babies.

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