Half of Irish women get full pay while on maternity leave
The Irish Times reports on an employment survey which has found that just half of Irish women receive full pay when taking maternity leave.
More than four in five women receive ‘some contribution’ from their employers, and 19 percent get nothing.
The Irish government provides women with six months paid maternity leave of 265.50 Euro a week. It is at the discretion of employers as to whether they top up this rate with a further contribution.
Women are also entitled to 14 weeks unpaid maternity leave. There is no statutory entitlement to paternity leave, something the European Parliament wants to change.
Aside from blatant economic discrimination (I assume it is simply unfortunate if less well off women are not able to provide beyond six months care for their new born child?) there are some predictable gender stereotypes at play here.
Mark Fielding, chief executive of Irish Small and Medium Enterprises, said that most of its members do not pay maternity. He said it would have the effect of encouraging employers to discriminate against hiring young women.
In a fantastically worded soundbite, he said: “If there are two candidates and one is buxom young woman of child-rearing years and the other is a fellow, who is the employer going to hire when he or she knows that they will have to pay 20 weeks’ maternity leave?”
Thank you, Mr Fielding, for the unnecessary use of the word ‘buxom’.
Is it implicit in this statement that any absence from work is an inconvenience, whether or not employers must pay for it?
It seems it is already in Mr Fielding’s mindset to assess individuals by some gendered idea about their likelihood to take time off in order to bring up children: ‘buxom young women of child-rearing years’ are primarily mothers and likely to be less committed employees.
The ‘fellow’ will remain a loyal and ever-present employee, not troubling employers with such nonsense as caring for children.
A good way around that would be for policy makers to acknowledge that men have a significant role in bringing up children too, and for statutory paternal leave to be introduced.
Then the Irish government can stop institutionalising and legitimising gender roles and employment discrimination.