This is going to be a bit long. If you aren't interested in following this debate, feel free to ignore it.
bdog wrote:As a childless person in the work force, I take issue with the Family and Medical Leave Act's provision for someone to take 12 work weeks of unpaid leave to care for a newborn child within 1 year of birth.
And yet you don't
apparently take issue with the F&MLA's provision for unpaid leave for care of a spouse or parent. (I only include that "apparently" because you still
refuse to answer the simple "yes or no" question that would clarify it... but your "right back atcha" comment earlier in this thread strongly implies that you don't object to the other provisions.)
That is a very peculiar distinction. You're OK with granting unpaid leave for care of parents and spouses but not children?
I would rather like to see it opened up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave to do as an employee sees fit.
Fine! If you think employers should be required to give people unpaid leave to do whatever they want, call your senators and representative and ask them to sponsor a "Recreational Leave Act". It sounds like a nice idea!
But why would you seek to "shitcan" a new parent's right to take time off to care for her/his child unless you are given the right to take time off to do whatever you want? Are you prone to these kinds of vindictive fits of pique on other subjects, or just those involving parenting?
Now I'm curious, why do you continue to "ignore" (in Henry's words) this provision:
"a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job"
Huh? I don't have any problem with that. Is there something wrong with it?
Childless people are the last group that it is ok to discriminate against.
I'm sure that it feels that way to you.
Everyone is a "childless person" for much of their life. I have been childless for more than 50% of my adult life. For much of that time I didn't want kids, didn't particularly like being around kids, and couldn't imagine having kids. You keep talking as if you and I are from two different races or something -- but I went through 15 years of adulthood as a childless person. So unlike you, I've actually experienced both sides of this divide.
The people who have it worst are those who either want kids but can't have them
, or who don't want kids but do have them
. Both of those are miserable circumstances to be in, and compared to them neither the happy parent nor the childless-by-choicer has anything to complain about.
a few ways in which people without children can be treated poorly in society. Mostly, it's just thoughtless remarks and unfair assumptions. I've heard a relative of mine sniff disparagingly about people who choose not to have children, calling them "selfish". Lots of parents are under the mistaken impression that their childless friends or co-workers must of course
want to hear endless stories about what little Johnny or Janie did yesterday, blah blah blah.
But there are just as many ways in which parents are treated rudely. Random strangers will feel entitled to make caustic remarks about how your child is being raised. People like bdog will suddenly start calling you deliberately offensive names like "breeder"
Then there are various superficially significant forms of "official" discrimination than can rankle people who are already sensitive about their non-parent status. Bdog's resentment that the Family & Medical Leave Act allows people to take unpaid leave from work to care for a child (or spouse, or parent) falls into this category. Basically, he (wrongly) imagines that this "benefit" is some kind of reward that parents are given and that is unfairly withheld from non-parents in order to express social disapproval. It's not, and it isn't. You might as well argue that the F&MLA discriminates against people who don't have a seriously ill spouse or an elderly parent in need of care... but bdog doesn't
argue that, because it's only the issue of child-care that pushes his personal psychological buttons.
Or, to pick another example, I've heard someone seething about "discrimination" when the airline representatives let "people traveling with small children in need of assistance" board first. That's not discrimination against the childless.
If it were, then on my next business trip, I could go up to the gate agent, show them a picture of my cute kid from back when she was little, and they'd let me go through early because my being a parent makes me a wonderful special person who deserves favors. The airline doesn't care if I'm a parent or not.
They want the boarding to be done as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Boarding certain handicapped people and very young children first seems to facilitate that.
On the other hand, there are also all kinds of things that can feel like discrimination against parents. Employers are notoriously leery about hiring women who are mothers, or in extreme cases even women who are likely to become mothers. In academia, there is general agreement that on the tenure track, the childless have a huge advantage over those with kids. Residential communities can have covenants banning families with children. And so on, and so forth.
Anyway, the bottom line is that there are times and circumstances when both the childless person and the parent will feel like they're being treated unfairly. Having lived for quite a while now on both sides of that fence, I'd be very hard pressed to say which side has the better case in that argument. It's pretty much equal! Likewise, there are plenty of advantages and benefits of each. If you're childless, you probably will end up with more money and more free time, a more successful career, and much richer opportunities for travel, recreation, social activities, etc. If you're a parent, you get the very real (albeit amorphous) joys of caring for and raising a child.
The main thing is just to find ways to be as happy as possible with your circumstances, and to try to treat other people's circumstances respectfully, even if they differ from what you would choose.