This is a debate that is fueling some heated discussions, as I’m sure you can imagine. Should we be allowed to take maternity leave if we don’t have children?
My first response is “no, of course not.” I’m of the viewpoint that maternity leave falls in with other benefits such as unemployment and social security; it’s there if you need it, but it’s a service, not an entitlement.
That having been said, maybe it’s time to rename maternity leave. In recent years many companies have stopped separating sick days and vacation days, instead giving employees Personal Time Off to be used as needed—to go to the beach, visit the dentist, or lay in bed with the flu.
What if maternity leave became just “personal leave” offered to every employee to be used for their own personal life goals—to do volunteer work, write a book, run for mayor, or care for a newborn baby? After all, for most women, having children is a choice, and those of us without children are often left to pick up the maternity leave slack. When do we get time off to pursue our dreams?