Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Maybe I'm just a grumpy misanthrope

The new maternity/paternity policy has come into force, with details of how work are planning to support parents, particularly new parents. And, of course, that’s all good. But there is a small part of my brain thinking ‘what about those of us who aren’t having children?’

There’s a Dilbert strip somewhere that satirises ‘family friendly’ policies for effectively discriminating against single people (or childless married people). I can’t remember the actual joke, but the gist of it is that childless people end up doing the work of their burdened co-workers, while said co-workers get extra time off for an event they chose to happen.

It would be like me having an extra week off ‘decorating time’ if I move house, or ‘driving time’ to enjoy my new car. Basically if you want some extra vacation, make a new sprog every year. Don’t worry about your work – other people can do that while you take some much-needed time with your family. Although perhaps spending too much time with your spouse is what caused this whole thing in the first place. (Hmm?)

What about some kind of bonus for those of is who don’t take paternity leave? After all we don’t cost the company anything with extra leave, we don’t add to the workload of our colleagues, and we will have fewer unplanned days out of the office in the next fifteen years because our kids are suddenly ill. We are less inconvenient all round, and on top of that we don’t show anyone pictures of wrinkled babies and demand to be told how cute they look.

I think we should be rewarded as team players, not punished for other people’s proclivity for procreation.


  1. I think the answer is in the post title. And any time you want a 'vacation' by looking after children, just let me know.

  2. Anonymous21/4/09 13:49

    If I understand rightly I don't think he's saying looking after children is a a 'vacation'. But having children is a choice & privelege (or at least should be) that some make and others don't or can't. Obviously spending time with your children is important, but so are a lot of things. As far as I know there aren't extra-time-off priveleges for other things, some of which are far less of a choice than having children (for example caring for a sick or eldery relative).

  3. And I quote: "Basically if you want some extra vacation, make a new sprog every year."

    Paternity leave isn't quite the same as having a holiday in the states or the canaries islands. And if it's not that for the dad it definitely ain't for the mum.

    And feel free to claim from the government equivalent financial perks such as child benefit and working families tax credit and child tax credit while not having children. Good luck with that one.

  4. Not sure what your last point is there, Phil.

    I don't envy anyone trying to claim benefits they're entitled to from the government. Good luck to them I say. My experience is that if you want to talk to slow-thinking obstructionist imbeciles head down the benefits office or the jobcentre.

  5. Well it was a light hearted stab at the 'they're getting benefits for having kids but what about me' especially as family policies are as a result of legislation. And you're right it is no joy, government helplines are the classic oxymoron which make me feel like swearing.

    But my first point is the one I'm sticking to, 'maybe you're just grumpy'

  6. "Welcome to the government hindrance line, how can we fail to help you today."

  7. Shouldn't that have been 'how can we help you fail today?'