The family friendly Lib Dems will resist the Conservatives inclination to reduce or remove extended, and it has to be said hard won, maternity and paternity leave rights.
This is a problem with many parts.
Firstly it shows the very unhappy state of the marriage between the Coalition partners, after all this is fundamental stuff, how we do, or rather don’t support UK workers, who work some of the longest hours in Europe, with a patchwork of childcare arrangements, unlike our Nordic neighbours. With those 2 parent families often passing like ships in the night throwing the caring and domestic baton back and forth, and single parents often either struggling to find work or doing more than 1 job in the 5 c’s sector (cleaning , caring, catering ….you get the picture.)
Secondly it ignores clearly evidenced requirements of working parents, and pays scant regard to the needs and interests of children.
Thirdly it leaves us all, sitting nicely on a ticking demographic time bomb. What are we going to do when we have to start looking after the elders in our community? So many baby boomers! Many are healthy and maintaining independence but speak to any baby boomer or Gen X’er about the strength and depth of the crisis that strikes when Mum, Dad, or frail Aunt B, suddenly needs care. Your in London, they are in Carlisle, unlike a toddler you can’t predict what care pattern will suit, you don’t know how acute or how long any sudden problem will take to resolve. Plus, truth be told, you don’t really know what your doing or how to do it. How many of can arrange a personal care budget and meals on wheels, where do we start?This is very different from dealing with childcare!
So point four, last but not least, this right to flexible work becomes a really potent voters issue, not just for the ‘mums’ (and dads) who know instinctively the value of family friendly working patterns and depend on these rights to exercise sound judgement and make families work. But the ‘grey’ voter too, will eventually and ardently recognise that there is mileage in this for them, either to allow for care to be given, or to allow them to be a caregiver. Some major HR departments report that half of all TOD requests (time off for dependants) are in respect of elder care needs.
Lets not hold the Lib Dems in any kind of high esteem for this state of affairs, and their stated aim to resist the Tories. This erosion of rights, pushing all responsibility onto the individual is classic Tory territory. We know that. So do the Lib Dems, and they knew whom they were getting into bed with, that night, drunk on power.