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Why do we still not have shared "Maternity Leave"

  • 08-07-2022 9:43am
    Posts: 0

    Why is Ireland still lagging behind other countries in how we assign leave after birth?

    I still can not understand how we basically force the choice on parents. I know when our first was born, that situation made it more difficult on us. My wife earned more than me so we would have really benefitted us, financially, if I could have some of the time.

    It won't suit everyone but parents should at least be given a choice.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,500 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    Because men do not breastfeed, 99.99% of the time.

    And the immense health benefits of breastfeeding are what makes the cost of maternity leave to the taxpayer worthwhile.

    (Yes I'm aware there is a protocol which biologically-male people can follow to make their moobs produce milk. But it's only relevant for a tiny proportion of parents.)

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,705 ✭✭✭BeardySi

    Neither do a significant proportion of women. Are you suggesting parental leave should be based on milk production?

    Parental leave for both parents has shown to strengthen relationships between parents, lead to better and more secure bonding with the children, improve the mental health of both parents, increases the relevance of the role of fathers in the view of society (very much needed) and generally eases the burden of a very stressful time on all parties involved.

    For our second, I tool an extended paternity leave (an extra 4 weeks, whoop de doo) which ended the week of the first lockdown and I was then furloughed. In total I hade nearly 5 months at home before going back to work - the difference personally and to our family was immense compared to the meagre 2 weeks that I could take the first time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 32,820 ✭✭✭✭Princess Consuela Bananahammock

    But they do in other countries that have shared maternity...?

    Men make other contributions to a child's updbrining y'know - it's not just about who has the mammory glands.

    Everything I don't like is either woke or fascist - possibly both - pick one.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Regional East Moderators, Regional North West Moderators Posts: 11,817 Mod ✭✭✭✭miamee

    They have a good set up in Sweden where each parent has 90 days exclusively to themselves and the remainder of the 480 days of parental leave can be divided equally between the two or however they see fit.

    Parental leave

    Sweden’s efforts to achieve gender equality have paid off to quite an extent.

    Walk around any Swedish city or town today and you’re likely to find fathers pushing prams and sharing coffee with each other while feeding their babies in cafés and parks. Sweden is indeed home both to ‘latte mums’ and ‘latte dads’.

    And in the OECD’s latest ranking of countries according to labour force participation rate, Sweden is ranked first.

    Parents in Sweden are entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave when a child is born or adopted. Each parent – should they be two – is entitled to 240 of those days. If the child is born in 2016 or later, each parent has 90 days reserved exclusively for him/her. Should he/she decide not to take these, they can’t be transferred to the partner. A single parent is entitled to a full 480 days.

    Statistically, fathers in Sweden currently average around 30 per cent of all paid parental leave.

    From here.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    My wife pumped for when I was taking our kid out and about.

    Our breast feeding rates are not great, so don't say that was ever factored into not giving parents a say in how they want to split the leave

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    No, we babysit...

    I remember a HR director saying that I was babysitting for the weekend, when my wife was away. She had to be corrected by her admin staff

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Maternity leave is not just about caring for and bonding with a new baby. It is also about the physical recovery for the woman whose body just went through 9 months of pregnancy, followed by labour and birth, and all that involves.

    The changes to a woman's body both during and after pregnancy are huge. Everything doesn't just bounce right back to normal after the baby is born.

    When I was pregnant on my daughter the then Master of the Coombe said to me "it takes 9 months for a mother's body to grow baby, and another 9 months to recover from it".

    I've no objection in theory to shared maternity / paternity leave.

    Once a suitable amount of time is mandated exclusively for the mother to recover after the birth. This is currently six weeks (2 weeks before and 4 weeks after birth) but imo should be the first 3 months after birth as a minimum, as post-partum bleeding (not fun) can last up to 12 weeks.

    After that, let the couple decide how they want to split the remainder.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    See above, other countries insist on 90 days each. Non negotiable/transferable then split the rest as required

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I agree the scandanavian model is probably the gold standard to aim for, but I can't see it ever happening here due to the cost - or employers being happy about it. But its improving, Parents Leave has just been increased so it's moving in the right direction.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Not fast enough, though.

    Financially is penalises families where the woman earns more. Fathers deserve time with their newborn (and to psychologically look after themselves, after such upheaval).

    It would also remove the, illegal yet real, discrimination women face at interviews. I've been in conversations where people I know, who are managers in their work place, will sate that there is (of course) still practices where women are discriminated due to Mat leave.

    Easier to hire a guy who can only take 2 weeks...

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,500 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    I agree that there should be a minimum period for mothers - but I think it should be six months, because that's the time when health advice is that babies should be exclusively breastfed. Yes women can pump, but many find it is difficult to maintain adequate supply for exclusive feeding if they're doing this while working.

    As with so many discussions in Irish history, the needs of the child seem to the last consideration. They should be the first.

    No, I would not make maternity leave contingent on breastfeeding, because some children need to receive artificial baby food, for serious medical reasons: differentiating the leave periods based on this would be far too complex. But from a public-health perspective, policies should be those maximise chances of breastfeeding.