Would You Give Up Maternity Rights For Money?

How depressing is the Conservative party conference (and let’s face it all the political conferences)? I don’t know about you but I get tired of hearing all the lies and the false promises, and in the case of the Conservatives, chatter from people who have no idea what it’s like to be a parent struggling to get by.  Last night I caught a bit of George Osborne (who let’s face it has already messed with our heads about child benefit), inviting employees to give up their workplace rights. Rights which include some maternity rights in exchange for owning tax-free shares in the companies they work for. His ‘plan’ effectively involves us voluntarily giving up rights to bring a claim for unfair dismissal, redundancy, and the right to request flexible working. New mothers would also be required to to provide twice as much notice of a firm date of return from maternity leave – 16 weeks instead of eight.  All in exchange for tax free shares in the company they work for. Pardon me but don’t all these rights he’s so eagerly trying to do away with directly affect working parents who (1) are the ones who tend to request flexible working, and (2) often suffer unfair dismissal? No wonder parents and family advocates are up in arms about it. With Sarah Jackson, Chief Executive of Working Families warning: “Shares can go down as well as up. Employees could end up with no job security or employment rights and worthless shares.” As she also says, Osborne’s plan also flies in the face of everything we know about productivity and employee engagement. “Treat your employees well, give them the flexibility they need, and you will be rewarded by highly motivated and high performing employees.” His view make me crazy but what do you think? Would you give up your workplace and maternity rights for shares?