'I got the job! They're giving me £45,000 a year, a company car and something called a vasectomy.'
Under new proposals outlined by deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, fathers may be entitled to claim up 10 months paternity leave. Mr Touchy Feely Lib Dem Clegg outlines the need for fathers to share responsibility of childcare with their partners and is keen to introduce laws to provide new parents to take their joint parental leave in chunks a few weeks at a time.
The British Chamber of Commence have stated it's a 'sledgehammer' to business whilst employment lawyers said the proposals could have a 'chilling' effect on recruitment particularly towards young people.
The coalition government can't take all the credit for this one - the previous Labour party proposed this back in 2006 when David Cameron who was then the leader of the opposition, spoke out against similar proposals. So that's another U-turn for Mr Cameron? Quelle surprise...
NHS reform, high taxes, job losses, cutbacks, benefit and educational reform (ie cutbacks), HUGE hikes in petrol prices and falling house prices are just some of the things we've had live with since these two forged a coalition government, albeit some of which was inherited from the the previous incumbent.
I get a little uneasy with proposals to reform and extend paternity / parental leave. Small businesses who struggle as it is under the current economic climate are going to hurt even more when this becomes statute under employment law. I daresay there will be repercussions on younger people starting out their careers, particularly graduates who inherit huge debts following their studies as it is. And from a personal viewpoint, it'll be a particularly bitter pill to swallow for the employees who don't have children either by design or default. If you work in a large company or in areas of the public sector, the 'childless ones' currently work on whilst their colleagues with children are entitled to term-time leave (ie. leave whilst children on school holidays). You will get used to your colleague's with children taking emergency leave in cases of problems with childcare provision or little Tabitha getting tonsillitis. And now, with the enforced requirement for employees to work longer and therefore past the current retirement age due to shortfalls in state pensions, you will also have your male and female colleagues taking up to 10 months parental leave. So if a couple have say, 4 children....blimey, that's nearly 4 years off!
So here's some radical proposals for Cleggy and Cammo:-
1. Give tax breaks for the 'childless ones'. After all, they have no entitlement to maternity/paternity pay, Child Benefit or Family Tax Credits. They will not be adding pupils to the education system or raising obese children to knacker up further the NHS waiting lists for the next 80 years. They will also be saving the carbon footprint and not adding more used nappies to the eco-system.
2. Allow the 'childless ones' to retire up to 2 years earlier than their counterparts with children to compensate for their not taking any parental leave.
3. Stop pillocking about with notions of 10 months paternity leave.
Yeah, I know... Dream on. Up the revolution!