Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Maternal leave: careful what you wish for

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-03-25

The debate about paid maternity leave needs less hype and more thought, as it can actually harm the career prospects of women as a group, because it can entrench attitudes that women will be less productive in the workplace.  (See VoxEU analysis).

Paid maternal and paternal leave, similar to compulsory paternal leave in Sweden, avoids this problem.

We also need to address the flexibility of arrangements.  As I’ve argued elsewhere, when babies are able to rest quietly in slings, needing merely filling, emptying and close body contact, parents should be able to have their infants in the workplace, taking time off when more necessary, when they are neonates or getting to the crawling/climbing stage.

Government funding for parental leave (at least for smaller businesses) is useful, as it decreases the stress on parents that can harm not only the parents and children, but productivity in the long term.

Mind you, while adjustment time to learn the art of infant wrangling is necessary, for environmental reasons, I’d drop the baby bonus and pay women an annual bonus for not having children, which would probably slash the teen mother problem.

See Also/Notes:


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