MEGHAN Markle, (misusing her defunct title of Duchess) is currently lecturing politicians in the US, trying to get them to vote for a paid parental leave policy at national level as a mandate, rather than allowing individual companies to decide for themselves.
Leftists such as Meghan just adore state interference of this type in private matters, especially in the form of regulating business, and always seem to support policies that could bankrupt small, cash-strapped entities.
Currently in the United Kingdom statutory maternity pay amounts to 90 per cent of average weekly earnings for the first six weeks and is capped at £151.97 per week for the following 33 weeks.
Paternity pay is capped as well, at the weekly rate of £151.97, but is limited to two weeks.There is also something called shared parental leave and pay, which requires the mother to return to work so the father can take the same capped amount (which would only make sense if the woman earned more).
Longer and higher paid maternity leave ironically lessens the opportunities for high-aspiring female job-seekers. It’s precisely in the context of the big bonus culture of financial services where this is most evident.
This is how it works, a case that I know of: The woman works for a few months, becomes pregnant, collects her £250,000 bonus on top of a six-figure salary, returns to the office for another few months and becomes pregnant again, and repeats the process all over again.
The cunning lady in question has managed to become a millionaire and retire to raise her children in a very fine house in the country. Her husband retired too. The head of the team where she worked vows never to hire another woman of childbearing age again. To this day, he’s been true to his word.
Other egregious stories abound, including one about an interviewee in the medical sector who at several months pregnant was able to hide her condition, received the job offer and took paid leave without ever setting foot in the office.
Indeed, as a legal contractor covering maternity leavers I would so often see women with children skip out of the office at 4pm or even earlier, with some parental-based excuse, whilst everyone else in the team worked late into the night. Time and again, having children is used as a way to bunk off or shift heavy workloads on to childless colleagues.
The fact also is that women’s preferences for family or career are adaptive and may shift depending on outside forces such as the understandable recalcitrance of employers to promote female employees who work fewer hours than their male counterparts. This in turn creates a downward cycle that cannot be addressed by governmental edicts on maternity pay.
Notions of ‘gender equality’ as force-fed to us are but a smokescreen to disguise the fact that many women just don’t have the desire to slog away for long hours in an office when they could be at home caring for their families.
But, if given the chance to collect full pay for six months (currently the offer at larger UK-based investment firms, brokerage houses and top financial institutions), they will of course take the money with no guarantees about their performance or work ethic upon their return.
As pointed out several years ago in commentary on the sociologist Catherine Hakim’s preference theory, ‘the fact is that we have everything in place to give women every choice they could want, and that’s the only kind of equality that matters’.
Covid policy ‘work from home’ mandates have offered mothers further choice – they mean that new mothers in most professions which allow for remote working can more easily continue to work alongside child care and maternal duties.
The fact is that women have as much freedom of choice and opportunity today as they will ever have, and in some instances have their cake and eat it too, whilst their partners are laughing all the way to the bank.
It’s doubtful that companies in the US can make more paid parental leave work without penalising small businesses or indeed women of childbearing age who aren’t planning to start a family.
But more is never enough for the feminists and Leftists demanding ever more paid parental leave and family friendly policies. By the time they have finished enforcing paid parental leave, no doubt they will lobby to make it virtually impossible to sack anyone, while gender and diversity rulings will stop bosses from following the logical deduction and just employing men. Productivity is of course none of the concern of ivory tower gender gap lobbyists.
A pity that the Duchess of Wokery couldn’t brush up on some free-market economics, and improve her understanding of the unintended outcomes of government interference before pushing her country’s politicians into our sinkhole of socialism.