Friday 28 September 2012

Grannies In The Wainscot

With all the Euro trouble, endless political strife around Europe and with Germany holding the money bag you would imagine there are a great many pressing problems for Germany to work on.

Austerity and economic disciplines not known for a generation and more are being visited on populations who have become unused to them.  The Germans are the key to all this and will expect reductions and sacrifices.

But it appears that something is more important than all this and might have a priority, notably with elections pending.

Bear in mind what Germany does today, Europe does tomorrow and the UK will have to follow.  Although in the UK we can safely assume we will make it much more complicated and expensive than the others.

It is that the German government is thinking of improving the terms of maternity leave for the parents (however defined) but adding to that to create the rights of grandparents for time off and assistance.

The title is taken from the Laurie Lee book, “Cider With Rosie”, see Wikipedia for an explanation.  Our ideas about grannies and their like seem to have changed.

But these extra rights and benefits are being proposed by a governing class who tend to have breeding patterns of their own.  Largely, these mean delaying breeding until a later age than many, limiting the numbers and being in public sector or related employment.

There could be some unintended consequences here, never mind one of those all too familiar “time bombs” that go off under a later generation or financial situation.

There is the obvious arithmetic that for one mewling infant, it can be is up to six people including the grandparents, all taking time off and the rest.  Has anyone worked out the costs and the implications? 

The other is that in our divergent communities there are a good many groups where breeding begins early, the numbers born are greater and people can be grandparents in their thirties.  Indeed some may be great grandparents even during their theoretical “working age”.

A child will have eight great grandparents, assuming that incest or closely interwoven families are not involved.  Why shouldn’t great grandparents, who are employed not have the same rights as grandparents?

So if maternity leave and the rest no longer apply solely to the mother, but has been extended to fathers, if it goes up a generation or two, doubling the potential liabilities in many of each generation where will it all lead to.

How do you manage a work place or efficient organisation where the staff of every age group has become entitled to significant periods of time off, job protection and benefits that are unpredictable? 

How does a nation who hands out these benefits compete with those that do not?

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