Some time back the Pope said that excessive working in office can lead to ‘hardness of heart and suffering of the spirit’ (read this interesting story). Pope’s advice comes in the backdrop of what is widely known but barely acknowledged, which is that long and stressful office work and the urge to excel are taking a heavy toll in terms of healthy family life. Most DINK (double-income-no-kid) couples postpone having children, and even if they do have it would be no more than a single kid.
This finds resonance in German government’s plans to grant parents (fathers or mothers) up to 14 months of paid leave to look after their newborns. Urgent steps such as this are felt necessary to boost Germany’s falling birth rate and promote flexible working conditions. (More..)
If ‘leave for parenting’ with two-third pay is designed to entice young couples to create more babies in Germany, it is a different story in nearby UK. For younger lot there, the job scenario may appear to be getting a bit tougher, what with British government coming up with legislation to ban age discrimination at workplaces.
As the British trade and industry secretary Alistair Darling puts it,
Not only is it wrong in principle to discriminate against somebody because they are over 50 or because they are young, but it also doesn’t make any sense for the country or for businesses to exclude what could be a very large section of the population.
Read the whole story here.
Looking at these 2 happenings, what becomes clear is that legislators are waking up to meet changes in societal priorities in order to tackle them before they become liabilities. It makes eminent sense because if a growing concern is left unattended, it may cause more harm in the long run than any comparative advantage accrued otherwise.