A lot of men feel like women don't put in their "dues" because of maternity leave. Plus a lot of women in this country are forced to go without pay on maternity leave, which can be a financial hardship.
Here's an idea stemming from yesterday's post:
The life expectancy for women is 81 years in the US. The life expectancy for men is 76. We've got five years on them. If a woman takes a maternity leave, why can't the government subsidize that leave but then push back the age at which she can get retirement benefits? We get heart disease later and are healthier later in life, so why not?
I'm sure there's a down side I'm not seeing.
Seems like a good idea in theory but I think the gender gap is closing pretty quickly. By the time women having babies now reach retirement age, it's likely the life expectancy for men & women would be about the same.ReplyDelete
Seems more important for men to "put in their baby dues" and take more child-raising responsibilities, then there'd be no room for them to complain.
You're right that men should step it up in general. But those early months are still very likely going to be mom-centric, especially in nursing women.Delete
That's true: biologically, it's pretty impossible to have duplicate responsibilities but socially, we can structure more equitable ones: e.g. taking paternity leave after those critical early months and allowing mom to return to work.Delete
That said (written), I don't have kids myself so I'll bow to the more experienced here. I just get tired of hearing men's excuses about the 'unfairness of maternity leave'.
A lot of women get married to slightly older men. If they want to retire at about the same time, then they can't have the retirement age pushed back for women only. Besides, that is gender discrimination.ReplyDelete
In reality, I would not want to be retired if my wife still had to work. It would defeat the purpose of us being able to be old together.
That's kind of a ridiculous argument. I'm older than my husband and I know tons of couples in the same situation.Delete
It's not gender discrimination because it would be a choice the woman would make. If they don't have kids or decide not to take govt subsidy for their leave, their retirement age would stay the same.
It wouldn't be gender discrimination if men could also take paternity leave and have the same deal, otherwise it probably would be.Delete
The idea of it not working b/c men are slightly older in a couple I agree might be silly, but I'm sure it's a statistic somewhere in the census that could be looked up: the number of couples with husbands older than the wife.
But his sentiment was sort of similar to my first thought, just not exactly. Your logic is that men die younger. Most couples want to retire together. If the wife is working longer, even if the pair are the exact same age, then that is less time together to enjoy retirement.
Edited to add: I still think it's a good idea.Delete
It should be said that the woman COULD still retire at the same time as the man, just with less benefits. But those benefits may not be as crucial if you don't have kids to support.Delete
I think it's a great idea! Fizzy for Congress! (President?)ReplyDelete
... My husband is five years older than me, and I suspect that is the majority. ... But as Fizzy says, this would be a choice you would make. Besides, I think a lot of retired men WISH their wife was still working. I mean, assuming they made a sound financial judgment and it's not because of money, they just prefer not to be pestered so much. It can be a lot of strain having two idle adults in the same house. As long as the working spouse can have some flexibility (and given their seniority they probably do) to travel, seems like a win-win-win. And why not make the same option available to men for maternity leave. The life expectancy thing might not be on their side, but they could still make that retirement age trade-off and sure, they run the risk of being less well and having to retire without full benefits. But I bet people who make these types of decisions (more time off around stressful times) will improve their overall health/life expectancy anyway!
Yeah, I think it could also be used for any sort of family leave. But I don't think it's something that makes sense for short term disability for illness, because a person who needs that is probably more likely to need a earlier retirement. I mean, if you're taking time off for a heart attack, you're probably not going to want to push back your retirement.Delete
Excuse my ignorance, but what is retirement age in the USA?ReplyDelete
There's no strict, set age, so that's actually a really hard question.Delete
People who retire now can get Social Security (US federal retirement for most people who have worked and paid in, plus their spouses recognized by the federal gov) at age 62, but not full benefits. It's slowly changing: http://www.ssa.gov/retire2/retirechart.htm
(For most people, having only Social Security puts them in or near poverty.)
People can qualify for Medicare (US federal medical insurance) at age 65 for retirement. http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/168/~/medicare-eligibility-at-age-62 (Some people can qualify early for medical reasons.)
People can begin to withdraw money from IRAs (tax deferred savings plans) at 59 and a half without penalty. (I think the same age goes for other tax deferred retirement type savings plans).
Thank you very much :) Quite complicated :SDelete
How about we mention the elephant in the room which is retirement benefits (social security) were never meant to last 15-20 years? It was retire at 65, live to 70-75. I hate to say it but as we live longer, we almost have to work longer to have sufficient funds to retire. Sure, some people can live frugally enough to retire early but that is no longer the norm.ReplyDelete
We could take your idea, Fizzy, and make it more broad. Take all the leave you want - maternity, paternity, whatever, other than strict medical or standard vacation (however we agree to define it) - just make it up at the end. That is, push off your retirement benefits by the amount of time you took off when you were younger. This way, there doesn't have to be a gender bias.
Yeah, I agree. Retirement age is probably now too young considering people are generally much healthier in their 60s than they were 30-40 years ago.Delete
I honestly believe I will live to retire at 75, perhaps even 80 U.U'Delete
75 is the new 65.Delete
I see more people retiring to take care of a sick spouse than I see retiring to enjoy lifeReplyDelete
Sick spouse and/or demented parent. (We know Medicare wasn't intended to last as long as it has to, but look at all the money we at-home caregivers same Medicare! They should be grateful.)Delete
So, Fizzy, in your scheme, what happens to people who find they can't work as long as they hoped to? Are they penalized?
Ooops. Meant "save" MedicareDelete
UMMMM. How about women earn the same money as men. No more 77cents to the dollar. I darn well "Paid my dues" from that lost income, and many times over! More than paid my dues in hard cash lost. Still paying as social security check depends on amount earned.... How about returning to me the lost income I incurred for being born female. Women are already suffering economically so stop with the silly adding of more burdens.ReplyDelete
Downside for me? Female, no children. Never took any time off from working, for maternity leave. Why should I have to work longer to subsidize you?ReplyDelete
Because you didn't actually read what I suggested. I said IF you take a subsidized leave, you can add that to your retirement age. It's optional.Delete
The person who defends that people with children should have benefits on picking vacations and on other work-related matters now says that women shouldn't be entitled to maternity leave without losing benefits/having to work more years to compensate. Nice.ReplyDelete
I spent my maternity leave completely unpaid, as do many other women. That is the current system. I'm suggesting a solution that would allow women who don't have the financial resources to go without a salary to be compensated in a fair way. I don't know why that makes you angry.Delete
I'm not from the U.S., so I didn't know women there were not paid during maternity leave. In my country women get three months of 100% paid maternity leave, 150 days on 80% pay (which can be 100% if the time is split with the father). And plus 30 days if the woman gave birth to twins. So, I apologize for the outburst. Anyway, both the unpaid maternity leave and your solution are unfair to women because they penalize them for having children. And it is still incongruent for you to defend that while claiming work benefits for people with children - either maternity/paternity is a burden for the individual to bear or it isn't.Delete
Interesting you should say that because when I initially posted about holiday preference and made the comparison to maternity leave, several people scolded me for making a comparison to something that was entirely different. I think the moral is that I can't win.Delete
It would be great if things in the US were like they are in your country, but since that's realistically not going to happen, it would be nice if there were at least some way for women to have that leave be compensated, even if they have to work a little extra to pay it back later. I'm certainly not arguing to take anything away from women, just brainstorming a way to give them more time with their newborns.
Would this system somehow be graded for how many children/maternity leaves a woman has taken?ReplyDelete
If a woman who has one child and woman who has five have to be pushed back the same amount of years, that would be unfair to the woman with one child.
My thought is that it would a 1:1 extension. Because not all women want to take extra time and some women have more kids than others. So if you want the government to subsidize a 6 month maternity leave, then you owe an extra 6 months at the end. If you end up taking 3 years for a bunch of kids, then that's what you owe. And if you want to just take unpaid time off or you don't have any kids, then you owe nothing.Delete
You know, I think this is one of the problems that Phyllis Schlafly had with ERA (the Equal Rights Amendment). She pointed out that if you say that men and women are equal (in the same way that the color of your skin doesn't reflect any difference other than the color of your skin), it would hurt women. She talks a lot about things like sofas in the ladies' rooms. (I can usually tell if a building was built before the mid-70s because their bathrooms will have a separate space for a lounge couch for women to rest during their work breaks.ReplyDelete
Pushing back the retirement age for women acknowledges that women are different than men. Not only are they the ones who physically bear children, but they also live longer and are stronger longer, etc. That constitutes gender discrimination, i.e. articulating that women are different than men and have both different needs and different strengths.
I'm much more sympathetic to Schlafly and gender discrimination than the average American, but I can see the whole concept being difficult for the wider world to accept.
I'm glad you brought this whole issue up because I definitely think that people should consider things like this in more detail. Or just admit that life is not fair and stop pretending like it is or should be.
Just some thoughts,
Yeah, I'm of the opinion that women and men are definitely not equal. While there are vast differences within the gender, the average woman is very different from the average man, and does have different needs.Delete
In theory though, this policy could be applied to *anyone* taking a family leave, not just a maternity leave. It would most likely be used by women though. Frankly, the retirement age has not kept up with health advances. My father is 66 years old, and although he *wants* to retire soon, I suspect he could be a productive worker for at least another 10 years.