Here are some things you can get longer off work for than paternity leave:

  • Stress/PTSD after watching One Day on Netflix.
  • A holiday to the Canary Islands, Alaska, Jamaica, Hull (I don't know why you would), the Amazon, really any of the worldwide countries, plus Space when that happens.
  • Bereavement. After watching One Day on Netflix. 
  • Having an aggressive cold that outstays its welcome and lingers in the hidden depths of your sinuses keeping you coughing to the point where it'd be a hazard to have you in work in case a fellow employee murders you with a laminator just to get a break from the persistent hacking.
  • Death.

All very justified reasons for time off work, especially that last one. But surely bringing a brand-new person into the world who relies solely on other people to eat, sleep, wee, poo, move, and generally survive because the only things it can do itself is breathe and cry (needy, I know) should justify time off work ample enough that it surpasses 2 meagre weeks. TWO WEEKS. YOU CAN RENT A KAYAK FOR LONGER.

A tub of yogurt wouldn't even have time to go off in the amount of days a new dad gets as paternity leave, and there are massive repercussions for it. But before we get to that, I'll show you government's current paternity and maternity policies.

Government Paternity Leave on the Isle of Man 

The right to paternity leave allows an eligible employee to take unpaid leave to care for the baby or to support the mother following birth.

Eligible employees can choose to take paternity leave of either one week or 2 consecutive weeks. It cannot be taken as odd days or as 2 separate weeks. Employees can take only one period of leave, even if more than one baby is born as the result of the same pregnancy.

An employee cannot take paternity leave before the birth of the baby. If the baby is not born by the date he specified, then he must change the date or choose to take leave from the actual date of birth, or a specified number of days after the birth.

During this time the employee may be entitled to Paternity Allowance, a benefit payable by the Treasury. There is no requirement on the employer to pay an employee who is on paternity leave.

An employee is not entitled to time off to accompany his partner at antenatal appointments.

A qualifying employee will be entitled to leave if the baby is stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy. If the baby is born alive at any point in the pregnancy but dies later, the employee will be entitled to paternity leave in the usual way.

A parent of a disabled child may be eligible to take parental leave in respect of the child; a total of 18 weeks (without pay) until the child’s 18th birthday.

Eligible employees (both fathers and mothers, and other defined carers) have the right to request flexible working.

The Effect on Parents

Giving dads less time off work than it takes for you to run out of kitchen roll has more negative repercussions than there are Fast and Furious films, and they're all reasons for you to get furious, fast.

The dad lacks essential bonding time with the child. This can lead the child naturally leaning more towards the mum to care for its needs. Leading to things later down the line of mums being the ‘fun police’ and dads being the ‘fun ones’.

There's a massive lack of emotional, mental, and physical support for the mum or parent staying home while at their most physically, mentally, and emotionally vulnerable.

It puts a strain on the relationship because the parenting (good bits and hard bits) can't be properly shared when it is needed most.

It re-enforces outdated gender roles that the mum is the main care-giver. This can lead to comments like ‘oh aren't you great’ when a dad does something basic like the school drop off, while a mum is automatically expected to do it and if she doesn’t, she's demonised.

I know that isn't 10 points but really, why do we need 78 Fast & Furious films? Speaking of mums, let's have a little look at what they're entitled to when they have a baby that will later benefit the island's economy.

Government Maternity Leave in the Isle of Man

There is no statutory obligation to pay an employee who is off work while she has a baby. It is important to check whether or not there is a contractual right to pay.

Most women are eligible to claim maternity allowance from the Treasury. This is payable to eligible women at a rate of up to £210 for up to 39 weeks (around £912 per month). The allowance stops when the woman returns from maternity leave.

A Local Mother's Story

We recently had an email in from a new mum, who wishes to remain anonymous, telling us the current parental leave provided by the company she works for makes it feel like new families are being punished. She said:

‘Myself and others are finding it really difficult to survive and I’m having to consider if going back to work earlier than planned is my only option. But then I miss special moments in my child’s first 6-12 months that I will never get back (plus the cost of childcare).

‘I was entitled to 3 months full pay, 6 weeks half pay, and now zero. [My co-worker] worked for the same company for 10 years, but prior to having the baby moved departments and was told she wasn't entitled to maternity allowance...but they so kindly gifted her one month! 

‘I just received the maternity allowance benefit which is £210 per week - nothing compared to my salary. I am struggling. 

‘Me and my partner are a family of 5, we both work, and have been told we're not entitled to Employed persons allowance to top up the loss of my earnings either.

‘It’s really frustrating, because you just think if I quit my job and sit on my butt all day doing nothing, not wanting to better myself or my family, the system will let you claim everything you want!

‘We also live in public sector housing which is now fixed-term tenancy, and they charge rent based on your income, so when I do go back to work, we'll be charged 100% private sector rental. This will be around £290 per week compared to my neighbours who will be paying standard, because they are on an old-style tenancy and pay £154.44 per week. 

‘I will also have to pay around £1,000 per month for full-time childcare to go back to work full time. These outgoings are not taken into account when they calculate your earnings, only the gross income they see at the start of your payslip, which I would like to point out is not ever what is in our back pockets.

‘It’s so frustrating, it feels working families are being punished.’

Parental Leave Around the World

The Isle of Man Government has been going on about wanting to entice more young people to the island to boost the population to 100 thousand, but with testimonials like that, why would they? Where's the initiative? Where's the care? 

Like the Isle of Man, Japan also has an aging population, but its very appealing parental leave policies for both mothers and fathers encourages people to do more unprotected shagging. If we want to entice more young people to the island or boost the population, why not do something similar? 

People are struggling mentally and financially already without the added pressure of a lack of support when it comes to bringing up a family, which is one of the hardest things people can do. Our governmental policies make it seem like it's no big deal. It is a big deal. When you make it easier for parents, you, in turn, make it easier for children. And these are the children you hope will one day be contributing to our economy.

You can't have your cake and eat it too, even if you do work inside of one.