Image via Unsplash
Image via Unsplash
A few months ago a London mom won her case at a special tribunal after her employer refused to let her leave work early to fetch her child from the daycare. There has since been a big discussion around whether or not working mothers should get special privileges in the workplace or not.
Many South Africans believe they should.
Alice Thompson a great employee and mother took her employers to a UK tribunal after they refused to let her leave work earlier to fetch her children from daycare.
According to Daily Mail, Alice was a high performer before taking maternity leave but when she returned to work, obviously needed some time to fit in her motherly duties which included leaving work at 5 pm as opposed to 6 pm. She also asked to work 4 days as opposed to 5.
Unfortunately, this did not sit well with her employer who denied the request but was soon regretful of the decision after they were forced to pay her 180 000 pounds (over R3 million).
This has since resulted in a heated debate about whether or not moms should be given the space to leave work earlier to take care care of their children. British financier and campaigner, Helena Morrissey says that women should definitely be allowed to take off earlier than other employees who are not parents.
“Women must be given leeway to fit childcare around their working lives,” says Helena while adding that smart employers should give employees flexibility especially if the work still gets done effectively.
She does go on to say that it shouldn’t be a “free-for-all” but reasonable requests, such as fetching a child from daycare, should be accommodated.
“The same flexibility should be offered, where possible, to anyone with caring responsibilities, male or female, whether they are caring for small children or elderly parents.”
Bel Mooney, an esteemed journalist, and TV broadcaster, however, does not agree with Helena. According to her, it would not be fair to other employees if mothers received special privileges in the workplace.
According to Bel, offering Thompson the option to leave work earlier yet still get the same salary as other employees who have to stay until the workday ends, may fester resentment.
“Resentment can fester within offices – and ruin efficiency. What’s more, I’m afraid women without children sometimes regard maternity leave as an unjust perk – because, after all, they aren’t getting extra months of paid leave for free.
“Nor are the childless rewarded with attention, cards and gifts. They just slog on doing their jobs — and perhaps wonder whether their time and contribution are deemed less valuable, when a new mother can issue queenly demands and win out,” she says.
She also goes on to mentions how bus drivers, doctors, teachers and nurses would surely also like to leave work earlier but are forced to make alternative arrangements – something she believes working mothers should and are also capable of doing.
“But surely you chose to have 3 children? Who did you think would pick children up from childcare? Who did you think would cover school holidays? Evening meals? Babysit at weekends? Surely thats your responsibility as a parent when you made the choice to produce and raise 3 children.”
Hair Bear said:
“I see nothing wrong in a shorter hours contract and less pay…. oh hang on, it exists already. It’s called part time work! The judge has made a bad decision that will affect how women of a certain age are (not) hired in future.”
“As long as she makes up the hours by going in earlier or skipping lunch there’s no problem”
Meanwhile, after asking South Africans what they thought, an astounding 78.6% said that they believe mothers should be allowed to leave work earlier. 21.4% however, did not think it would be fair.
Serge Peterson, a local Facebooker wrote:
“Yes, however, the kids are not solely the woman’s responsibility. Can fathers do the same?. Certain companies treat you as an adult and allow you to work flexible hours, so you work in your missed time.”