Jan 172007
 

Bannerman heard this snippet this morning and didn’t quite believe his ears. Looking up the internet news soon confirmed that his hearing is fine. He’s wondering if ALP policy makers thought processes are though.

Two years unpaid parental leave for the asking. Well, if you’re a young Mum or Dad and either are working to support the family while the other takes time off to ensure a better home care grounding for the loin-fruit, then whack-o the diddle-o. Employers not permitted to give a flat-out ‘NO’ without validating a knockback, and employees having the right to take the dispute to conciliation with the IRC. It gets better, reader. When you want to return to your job, which the employer has held in abeyance for you however long you’ve decided to take off, you can tell said employer that you’d like to return on a part-time basis, thanks very much!

Bannerman is being somewhat snidely critical of this concept, and with good reason. It’s socialist nirvana. Families would benefit to enormous degrees. IF they can afford the loss of income. You’re an average Working Navvy and, say, Bookkeeper either part-time or full-time, are doing what they do together because they have to. They NEED that income. So, let’s look further up the socio-economic scale. Middle Manager and HR Recruitment Executive partner decide to drop a sprog or two. Middle Manager decides he/she wants two years off for good solid parental reasons. They can afford it, as a family, to drop one income for a couple of years, so why not? How does this loss of supposedly key personnel impact upon the employer, especially given the employer must accommodate the ultimate return of Middle Manager, and possibly on a part-time basis to boot!

Working Navvy or Bookkeeper parent could possibly be accommodated, although Bannerman doesn’t believe there would be too many employers out in the real world which would be prepared to allow a two year break for staff, then welcome them back into their old role, or as a part-timer without suffering some disruption to continuity, production, staff morale, etcetera. At the level of Middle Manager – HR Executive, the very idea of holding a position open for two years, then finding that said position has suddenly morphed into one, probably two part-time roles, just doesn’t seem viable, let alone fair on the employer.

Bannerman asks these questions. Is this policy an ALP knee-jerk reaction to the punitive measures imposed by Workchoices, which is clearly heavily weighted to the employer? Is this policy just another ALP socialist wish-upon-an-election punt, a-la Medicare Gold? Actually, Bannerman thought Medicare Gold had some good points, in fact more than a little validity and practicality. Unlike this proposed socialistic preview of a land of milk & honey. Bannerman is a worker. Always has been and always will be. He’s not a union man though, and maybe that’s the difference. He doesn’t simply accept policy as policy without questioning the benefits for both sides of the productivity equation. This proposed policy simply isn’t balanced in that equation. Think again, ALP. Please, think again. This is pie-in-the-sky stuff.