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Shared parental leave

I welcome the Coalition’s apparent revival of its policy on shared parental leave. Those complaining what a terrible impact this will have on businesses help reveal how much women (or younger women at least) may be disadvantaged in the job market because of their much greater leave entitlements.

Fathers will be able to take time off work and claim state benefits throughout the majority of the first year of their baby’s life if the mother returns to employment.

This will allow the main household earner, if the mother, to return to work after just a fortnight.

Not surprisingly many below the line commenters are unimpressed by this move.   Here’s a choice comment from someone who doesn’t seem to have understood the proposal:

Great reason to offshore and outsoursce all the womens office work jobs, especially those that are likely to get themselves knocked up. A great time to do it would be now too before they get a chance.

Got lots of highly educated Filipinos out here will  work for yu 40 hours a week, never have time off, never complain, dont need pensiions,  dont need molly codling, dont need pee breaks every 5 minutes,  get the job done, dont waste time and your money chatting to all thier friends on the phone all day and effin about on thier facebook accounts and  you can have one one  full time for 50 quid a week.
And if you have lots of those types of jobs  in your office we can set you a full wholly owned by you  operation up in less than 3 months  saving you wha,,  oh around four hundred grand a year just by dumping 25 bimbos in your offices there and getting some real staff here

Another commenter worries that children looked after by their fathers will be abused.  Here’s a more positive take:

I cant believe the negativity on this one.  I can hardly be described as a socalist - private education, Sandhurst post-uni, live in Switzerland and work as a commodity trader – and I firmly believe this is a great idea on the basis of common sense, ie it provides families with a choice and isnt that the best thing about a democracy? If you believe that the woman’s place is at home, fine.  If you believe that roles should be shared, fine. If you believe that the man should stay at home, fine.  Now you have that choice.

This policy will allow families to decide for themselves how best to balance the competing demands of work and family.  The current assumption that women are the primary caregivers, men the main wage earners, works against both men and women whose own circumstances don’t fit that model.