There Ain\’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.
Fathers and mothers will both be able to take more than six months paid leave together after having a baby, under radical Conservative plans to make the party appear more family friendly.
Whether this is a good thing or not is really rather for others to decide: I\’m not going to be taking paternity (or maternity) leave anytime soon nor do I employ anyone who might. But I would note that one effect is likely to be on the gender pay gap. As regular readers will know, I\’m convinced that the majority of it (if not all) is in fact a childcare pay gap, or a motherhood one.
Equalizing paternity and maternity leave is likely to close that gap then, as it\’s both the expense to employers and the degradation of human capital caused by the career breaks which causes the pay gap.
However, this free lunch thing. The pay gap will simply reappear as one between those with children and those without.
As, in fact, it already makes itself apparent amongst women. Never married childless women in their 40s do not suffer a gender pay gap at all.
I have to admit to a sneaking feeling that this is actually something of a good thing as well: those who have children, whether male or femlae, should be those who bear the economic costs of having children. Yes, the leave costs businesses money, but wages, as we see currently, adjust to that cost.
To allow the mother to recover from childbirth and form a strong bond with the child, the first 14 weeks of the entitlement would apply only to her.
That\’s very weird though. Why enforce leave upon someone?