Many companies proclaim that equality in the workplace is important to them. However, practice doesn’t always match theory. And fancy words and promises don’t always result in the right actions.
Even though discrimination based on someone’s family status is illegal in many places (though completely fine in others), some managers still give preferential treatment to those employees who have children. One mom, who goes by the name KwestTurkey on Mumsnet, called out this practice, despite being a parent herself. She said that it is was completely unfair to prioritize parents’ requests for time off and that everyone should be treated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. Her post started a discussion and got people debating this topic.
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Bored Panda reached out to financial expert Sam Dogen, the founder of the Financial Samurai blog, to chat about what to do if we feel discriminated against in the workplace and how we ought to convince ourselves to take a break from everything over Christmas. Scroll down for his insights about how employees have quite an advantage right now if they’re seeking to change their jobs.
I don’t think parents should have preferential treatment, or it should be first come first serve. Things like Christmas should be shared equally, if you don’t have one Christmas off you can have the next instead etc. Otherwise you get the individual who books all the ‘best’ days off at the start of the year and screw anyone else who can’t make plans that early
“Since the job market is now very hot, employees have more options and more leverage. If the workplace environment doesn’t improve after you bring up an issue, then most definitely look for a better fit elsewhere. Job hoppers are getting paid healthy premiums in this market,” financial expert Sam, who created the Financial Samurai project, told Bored Panda that workers should realize they have an advantage in the current job market.
I was also interested to get Sam’s take on how we can talk ourselves into relaxing over the holidays if we’re used to working lots and might feel guilty about taking some time off. He said that we should look at this as an opportunity to recharge and gather our strength for the long road ahead.
People keep mentioning childcare and it may be a problem for some. But that doesn’t make it your colleagues problem or mean they can never get Christmas off because of your childcare issues.
But also, the vast majority of parents wanting Christmas off, want it off to spend time with their kids, not because of childcare. Which is fine. But other people want to spend time with their families too.
In summer, they want to spend time with their kids and save on holiday clubs. But also other people want time off in the summer.
Being a parent is my choice, it’s not for that choice to impact on other peoples ability to take annual leave. If you have to work holidays you have to find childcare, just the way it is.
“The best time to actually unwind is when your co-workers and your bosses unwind. That means during Christmas and other major holidays. Your boss will be busy spending time with their family and won’t notice your absence as much. Another good time to take a break is the period right after year-end bonuses are decided,” the expert said.
“Generally, 1Q is the busiest and most important time of the year. The more you can recharge during the winter holidays, the stronger you can come back and make things count when they count the most!” Sam explained that we should get ready for the first financial quarter.
I agree, having children doesn’t give you any rights to specific time off. Ultimately having children is a choice and where I work it’s first come first served
I don’t disagree, however as the parent of disabled DC which means it’s nigh on impossible to use school holiday clubs, me not being able to take any leave in summer because all my single child-free colleagues booked it before me totally f**ks me over.
Their disabilities also make it more challenging to book things very far in advance, for a few different reasons.
Yes it was my decision to have children, it was not my decision to have children with disabilities.
I’m the only person with primary age DC at my workplace, and the only person with DC with disabilities, it wouldn’t hurt the company or my colleagues if my holiday were prioritised some of the time.
Some jobs you can sell a certain number of your holiday days (think it was 5 a year) at a fixed rate to your colleagues. I thought that was quite a good idea.
As a parent myself finding childcare can be brutal, sometimes it’s not as simple as pay a childminder/ holiday club as there aren’t any so it’s nice if employers show some flexibility.
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The mom’s post on Mumsnet got quite a bit of attention online and in the media. It reminded people of the fact that, in some companies, employees who have children can sometimes get to call the shots when it comes to picking first when they’ll be going on vacation. What’s more, this preferential treatment can extend to better shift times and even getting to pick up extra shifts for additional income, too.
In short, some managers tend to give preference to workers who are most like them. If your boss has kids, odds are that they’ll be more sympathetic towards employees who are raising children of their own. However, this shouldn’t be an excuse for discrimination against workers who don’t have children (or choose not to, embracing the childfree lifestyle).
Yanbu I’m child free and have worked in jobs where parents got priority for summer and Christmas. I don’t mind summer so much, but I have family (including family children) that I’d like to spend a decent amount of time with at Christmas.
It’s also just as bad when you do get time off and then people automatically assume you’d be willing to swap with them because they have children.
Once my kids were grown, I volunteered to work EITHER Christmas Eve or Christmas day each year. I garnered a lot of good will doing that.
Summer holidays are a bit different, and yes, EVERYone wants off in a short period of time. For those with children, it is the ONLY time to book a holiday, so there is that. However, some schools here in the USA (and not nearly enough of them, in my opinion) have started going year round. They go six weeks, then have two weeks off. After some initial mumbling and grumbling, parents found it easier to schedule holidays, and opened up things for them that they could never do before, such as skiing trips and such.
I agree, first come first serve and I’m a parent.
Before I had kids I was working full time as a nurse. One of the other was the managers favourite and her rota basically dictated ours, she got exactly whatever shifts she wanted and the rest of us had to work around her. Drove me mad!
Eddy Ng, the Smith Professor of Equity & Inclusion at Queen’s University, formerly the James and Elizabeth Freeman Professor of Management at Bucknell University, told me some time ago that employers (this includes managers and HR) can be held responsible for inaction if there is discrimination at the workplace. For instance, if you find that you or a colleague of yours suffer from derogatory comments, you might want to consider making a human rights complaint.
“If repeated complaints about the toxic workplace to the manager or HR fall on deaf ears, then it is indicative that the employer is not taking the concern seriously and it’s the cue that you should switch employers/workplace,” the professor told Bored Panda.
Having children or not first come put your holidays in straight away dont moan if you cant have certain dates off especially xmas all know them dates when you dont put holiday dates in early simple
So what are you childcare options then OP?
Do you have family to help, a healthy salary so that nursery or holiday club fees are manageable? Do you work full time or are you p/t or stay at home?
These things make a difference to our opinions don’t they.
Some people can fully afford childcare for the majority of the school years then lose their job, partner, health and circumstances change.
It’s very basic to say people should think of their childcare solutions before their have kids, without any consideration to the fact that circumstances can change significantly between trying for a baby and having a 12 year old with 6 weeks of holiday club to pay for.
All that said, I agree that it should be managed fairly so that parents and child free can take the holidays they want or need and no one gets to nab all the best leave every year.
But the blame doesn’t necessarily sit with the parents, it sits with the totally s***e attitude this country has towards childcare cost and options for working parents (let’s say women, bc the majority will fall to us let’s be honest)
Morally, no I don’t think they should get priority. I do see why some employers allow it though.
For some parents, paying for childcare for most of the holidays would be impossible, they may even have to leave their job if it comes to it.
This mostly affects mothers and good employers want to support women returning to the office… it’s a difficult situation.
The expert noted, however, that we should be on the lookout for signs the company is making positive changes and responding to employee feedback. “If management makes an effort for change, then it would be an opportunity to assist with that change,” he said that some organizations are addressing systemic discrimination and are engaging with employees while others aren’t.
“Generally, it is easier to look for another job while you are still in one, so you don’t have to explain gaps in employment or past problems with a prospective employer,” the professor said that we have to be strategic about how we switch jobs if we find ourselves in a constantly toxic environment.
I have always gone out of my may to allow colleagues with kids to have Christmas etc – but to be honest it is starting to annoy me.
With working from home I now find parents seem to believe they have an automatic right to disappear for the afternoon school run. If I said I am going for a non negotiable walk for half an hour at 3pm every day I would quickly be told i am required to attend meetings.
I do think work should be flexible, but I think some parents expect far too much.
Having children is a choice and a privilege. I shouldn’t have to work harder and longer to allow other people time off to enjoy family life simply because I don’t have children.
I think there should be flexibility for working parents but I do draw the line at annual leave.
Annual leave should be first come first served. If your a parent who struggles for childcare during holidays etc, you need to be organised months in advance. Simple as.
My both worked, and they still book all there annual leave a year in advance to ensure they get it.
I don’t think it should be expected but I do think it’s nice for colleagues to consider each other. Before I had kids I would leave Xmas eve for people who had young kids as I do think it’s a special time of year for them, and you don’t get many years of them being excited. Now I have young kids my colleagues have said I should get priority. I wouldn’t kick off
if I didn’t but I do really appreciate it.
However, he also pointed out that switching careers can be an opportunity to take some time off, “take stock, engage in career planning, and exploration and transition to new careers.” In other words, whether or not you choose to immediately jump into a new job or need some time to focus on a new plan depends entirely on your unique circumstances.
Bored Panda has touched on the topic of employees with and without families just last week in an article right over here that might interest you when you’re done reading this one.
YANBU! A couple of places I’ve worked have given priority to parents for time off during summer holidays, Christmas etc – or the parents have sulked about it enough that the line managers have given in.
If it were made clear from the outset that I didn’t have priority for those dates, I’d understand and never work there but it’s not – it just rolls round to “Oh, you want that week off? Well, it’s half term and Sarah has two little ones” or “I need to you to swap Boxing Day with me, we have a tradition with the kids and it’s really important, you wouldn’t get how important it is”… well, I have a life too, so no. F**k off.
(This is a point of personal annoyance, can you tell? Where I work now, only 2 people in 20 have kids and holiday is done by team, so it’s not been an issue, but I always make sure my team get equal opportunity to take between Christmas and New Year off regardless of home situation).
Everyone should be treated fairly in the workplace. Childcare is not the responsibility of your colleagues or employer to manage for you. I had a colleague ask me to cancel my wedding as she had a childcare issue…my f**king wedding! I was off circa week but we were eloping so hadn’t told bc anyone. After being badgered by her fid 2 weeks I finally had to tell her ‘I will be 3 hours away from home, I’ve actually booked my wedding for that day!’ She then said ‘well can you cancel’ when I said no it is my WEDDING and bc everything was booked, paid and arranged she still saif ‘I’m sure you could shuffle it around a bit..,’
I’m on the fence as well. Before DD was born I was happy to let parents and work colleagues who were married to teachers have first dibs on school holidays. Pre children we didn’t want to holiday when the school children were off.
You’re being facetious.
It’s about the expectation to be given first dibs just because they are parents that puts them firmly in entitled territory.
Perks of working in a school! You are on the same schedule as your kids! Never have to work a holiday AND you get summer break, spring break, winter break, and here we even get fall break (separate from Thanksgiving break!).
In theory, absolutely yes. I do not believe free time or holidays are more inherently valuable to parents.
However… we live in a country/world where the vast majority of mothers cannot afford to NOT work, yet school is 9-3, term-time only.
Unless you’re lucky enough to have a retired grandparent who is happy & capable to look after the children, what is the alternative?
Hmmm on the fence here as a parent, you have to accept to a degree that people will want that time off at certain ages. Equally, as someone who pays for a lot of childcare on holidays, it shouldn’t be all the time. But what I don’t understand is why people without kids would want to take holiday when the kids are off! I’d be avoiding it like the plague 😉
Plenty of people without children might wish to have school holidays off, maybe their partner is a teacher so that’s when they can go on holiday together, maybe try want to visit family with children when the children are off school.
I’ve seen people be particularly nasty about single people requesting leave over Christmas, when surely they might be traveling to visit family as logistically easier.
I don’t think first come first served is fair, we al know the people that jump on it otherwise, but a rota system of sorts, so I always made sure we took it in turns to work in the bit between Christmas, regardless of family circumstances (was quite easy to do in a low turnover environment, appreciate that might not work everywhere). That was a few years ago, thankfully it’s not too much of an issue now though I offer to leave my work phone on if everyone is off
If it allows more women to stay in the workplace and not get priced out by childcare costs then I think its for the greater good. That being said, if its shift work and Christmas day that should definitely be taken in turns or that seems quite unfair.
I do mostly agree but I feel with children – with any caring responsibilities – there sometimes come clashed where there has to be give and take. For example, I will and do try to work my share of the Christmas period (office job) but DH has the kind of 24/7 shift work job and if he’d rota’d to work Christmas when there’s no childcare available I’m screwed, and Will petty much beg for time off.
I have only ever had 1 family Christmas 3 years ago when my brother was 40 because of those with kids made it impossible for us to actually be able to get time off so I think it needs to be fairly shared not people making lame excuses about childcare.
When I was little the same people got the time off and stamped their feet over Christmas and as a child both parents worked so we often spent time alone. As we grew up and my parents retired, me and my siblings who are childfree were then in a situation where we were unable to get time off as people demanded their time was more important.
People who are childfree also have families and it is sad we have never developed traditions or spent a Christmas ever with cousins etc and extended family.
Don’t know if you are in England but as soon as I wasn’t tied to school holidays I loved it, June and most of July are generally better than late July and August in my opinion. Longer days for a kick off. Obviously awkward if your partner is a teacher.
I used to do rotas in my old job, staff needed 24 hrs a day 365 days a year. We couldn’t let everyone have holidays at Christmas obviously but it normally worked out with:
1. Young staff were often willing to do a Christmas shift so they could have New Year off.
2. Orthodox staff would work Christmas and New Year so they could have a break for Orthodox Christmas.
3. Jewish staff would swap Hanukkah for Christmas.
4. Some staff who would be alone for Christmas/New Year would volunteer to work, maybe the money or maybe they didn’t want to be home alone or maybe they were just being nice to other staff.
5. Some staff without children would volunteer to cover staff with young children.
I think in 20 years I had one Christmas where I got down to the last place for Christmas Day and had two staff who wanted it, we agreed one would work the morning and the other than afternoon so both got time with their families.
It was a mammoth task and obviously can only work if someone is prepared to take that on.
I hate when people think they have more dibs than others with holidays.
I used to work every Xmas day and it really annoyed me as I still had family! Just because I didn’t have children at the time didnt mean I wanted to spend year after year alone Xmas night.
Now when taking leave I try to be as fair as possible when requesting even though it’s kinda my turn to be the asshole
As a parent who had only had the last 2 Xmas days off thanks to Covid and redundancy I do not understand the concept of parental preference!
But I agree. My DD works in the NHS and its her turn to have Xmas day off and got told “but as you havent got kids we put you on anway” and got no end of s**t when she said no.
As for summers off, well when my lot have all finally buggered off I shall do what my best friends do and sod off to somewhere hot in the winter for a month each year! Summer holidays are for those who have no choice imo
I don’t think it should be an actual rule that parents get preferential treatment but on the whole I’d hope most people were flexible. I’m not taking time off this Xmas to let others in my team with kids have the whole week off. When I was a child I liked to have my parents around over Xmas. If I had something on then fair enough a bit of flexibility both ways but I don’t want to stand in the way of a family Christmas to watch re runs of Jingle all the Way every day
I don’t have kids of my own and I lost count of how many times parents asked me to change leave dates. It’s like parents think that childless/free people have no life outside of work.
If parents expect the fact that they have kids not to be taken into account when applying & being considered for jobs, then they should not expect them to be taken into account at all at work.
YANBU at all, OP.
However as a single parent with no support, I work out when I need holiday at least a year in advance and book it before anyone else.
I hope none of my colleagues thinks I get preferential treatment, I really have already booked next Christmas eve.
YANBU. I think there are 2 issues though – lack of childcare over holidays such as Christmas means a lot of parents would struggle for childcare is one.
The other is specifically with CF colleagues who feel entitled to that time off and kick off about it, which is very different to situations where parents ask if anyone will swap or accept offers from colleagues who are happy to work.
Years ago I was a carer and had my Christmas holiday requests initially approved then taken back because one person kicked off and announced I didn’t need time off as I wasn’t a mother.
I had been given Christmas shifts for the previous 2 years and when I spoke to bosses I was told they basically asked all parents who was willing to work Christmas Day then put together the rota using any worker who didn’t have children to get to the right numbers. I think that was beyond unfair and it resulted in my resignation.
Now my DH is a teacher so we have no choice but to take my leave during school holidays but do a completely different job now (where we close for bank holidays) and there’s never been any issues. We work as a team and make a plan together so everything is covered and everyone is pulling their weight.
YANBU. Childcare problems are for parents to sort, the onus isn’t on childfree colleagues to solve them.
Similarly, you can’t demand someone else sacrifice for you, ‘for the greater good’ (mentioned earlier in the thread).
We have an April first deadline for vacation/holiday requests. If you request the day by that date the requests are granted by order of seniority. Because we are a 24/7/365 operation Christmas and the other holidays must be staffed with at least a skeleton crew and it may take years to achieve the seniority to guarantee Christmas off. This may seem harsh but everyone knows the rules.
I’ve been told by my work that they give Xmas off to those with children first. Whilst I may not have children, I shouldn’t be penalised for it. I enjoy seeing family just as much as others do. I don’t mind taking my turn to work but it shouldn’t be expected.
Parents shouldn’t get priority but hopefully one’s colleagues might be generous if it doesn’t matter to them regarding half terms and the summer. I don’t really think Christmas is the same; most people want time off then if for no other reason than the way the bank holidays fall.
I’m an RN and we rotate holidays off. It’s fair to everyone. If you work this year Christmas, you get it off next year. Nurses can trade holidays if they desire. It’s fair for everyone. Everyone has a life, whether they have kids or not. If you work Christmas, just get up early to open gifts, and have a meal after. Or celebrate the day before. You make it work. It’s not that big of a deal, kids or no kids.
Yanbu. I say that as a parent.
I run several teams and we work it out between us. But there’s no expectation that anyone has to not have leave because they don’t have kids.
We have grandparent. Grandparents who live far away from their kids and grandkids and want to stay with them for a week. People with no kids that just want to enjoy the break and Christmas. People with no kids who will be travelling a long way to be with family. As well as parents
We are closed between Christmas and New year, so it’s usually the days leading up to Christmas eve that’s popular.
I took some last year. So am not this year. Luckily everyone on my teams seem to be really considerate of eachother and like to make sure it’s fair.
That said, not at this job, but in my last one the only person who got arsey about having every Christmas off (we were open in between Christmas and New year) was someone without kids, as she wanted to go home for 2 weeks, every Christmas.
When she was told it had be granted to she could go for one, it’s caused a huge amount of drama.
I agree with this in principle, but I will never book time off over Christmas for this reason, I dont have children! It comes back to the principle of treat others how you wish to be treated, I’d like to think that if I had children I would be able to be there for them, so I personally do my best to allow my colleagues to be there for their children. I do think it comes down to personal preference though.
I don’t think parents should get preferential treatment but I don’t think it should be first come first served either.
We don’t allow Christmas leave booking until Octoberber, and we ask everyone to submit their preferences. We have minimum safe numbers of staff so have to refuse some people. Who gets refused is based on who worked the previous year as some people want the full 2 weeks off every year and it’s simply not equitable
I’m a paramedic and the fairest system I’ve come across for summer holidays was
13 people on rota, 2 allowed off at any time, 6 weeks summer holiday, names would get drawn out of a hat, and assigned a week each, so one person each year would not get a week during the summer holidays. It then got put on the noticeboard for a period of time so that we could negotiate and do any swaps before being finalised. Generally if someone with kids landed the week outside the school holidays, someone without kids would swap (it’s a tourist area, so being off in September is better if you don’t have kids).
Sometime childfree staff would give up their week completely to a colleague with childcare issues, but there was never any pressure to do so. I think once a fair and transparent system is in place, staff are more inclined to help each other out.
Christmas on the other hand….. It’s an annual battleground!!
I once had a rota that meant I got Christmas Day, Boxing Day, NYE and NYD off
My colleague kicked off as I don’t have children and was moaning how unfair it was I got the whole time off
Manager pointed out loudly I had worked every Christmas and new year for 8 years running and if she wanted to do that for the next 8 years then of course she could have a full Christmas off in year 9. She piped down then luckily as I was fuming
It was just the way my rota fell but after her moaning and the fact she hadn’t ever worked a Christmas and NY, I wasn’t swapping shifts!
The school holidays are basically the whole summer, by the time schools go back in Sept, the nights are drawing in. DH always needed some time in summer because he was a cadet instructor and wanted to take other people’s kids away, DF needed school holidays because he was married to a teacher…
The rules should apply equally to everyone IMO and no one person should get to book all their holidays until everyone has had the opportunity to book at least 2 weeks
Summer I agree first come first serve there are options available for childcare but Christmas is a different story.
There are zero childcare options available if you have no family nearby (which we dont). I am working 2 days between Xmas and New year on the 2 days that my DH isn’t but it’d far from ideal and if I was a single parent then I wouldn’t have this option.
Some parts of the country nurseries are open but none up my way are.
I worked in the care sector my whole life and only the last few years of it in a job that we closed for Christmas. We sadly don’t have children and yes I know Christmas is all about children however it’s unfair to expect those of us without children to always work Christmas. I always thought the fairest way was year about. 1 year you have Christmas off & the next year New Year.
Where is all this paid childcare over Christmas? My sons school and nursery are both shut, do your children’s nursery’s stay open over Christmas?
I work in a school so thankfully doesn’t apply to me. But my husband worked nearly every Xmas day before we had kids so that none of his colleagues missed out on Christmas with their children. This was including the year when he lived away and he ended up having dinner with his bosses family.
Now we have kids and thankfully his colleagues are doing the same for him. I wouldn’t be so bothered about teenagers but ages 0-10 you really don’t want to miss.
The summer is surely a childcare issue, the amount of threads I’ve seen of people desperately looking for play schemes etc for their kids. It’s not that easy to just pay for it and every time the suggestion is to use your holiday. Seems very privileged to say “use childcare not holiday”
I don’t think parents are to blame in this but the school.childcare set up is still aimed at families with a stay at home parent so not fit for purpose nowadays.
Our holidays are first come, first served, except for school holidays. We have set days to request them by, and they will all be reviewed together. This can be a problem for people who would prefer to book holidays in advance though (like me! I need to confirm with DH and my parents etc) but it does mean that the allocations are fair.
Christmas and New Year are very strictly monitored for fairness because everyone wants time off regardless of kids.
I’ve never found this to be a problem tbh.The vast majority of child free people I’ve ever worked with prefer to take holidays outside of peak season – it’s far cheaper and less busy.
Over Christmas, most people I’ve worked with behave like adults and accept rotational cover.
I think the rigid structure of set term times and holidays is just s**t for everyone. Everyone with kids rushing to have a holiday in only certain weeks of the year, with astronomical holiday prices where you’re surrounded by millions of other families and kids. If there was more flexibility for everyone, there would be a lot less competition for holiday approval at work.
If I didn’t have children I would never book time off in school holidays. The prices are ridiculous especally in England! Personally I would let parents have the summer/easter etc but Xmas is slightly different as most people want that off.
I had an issue around ten years ago – I didn’t get any time off over Christmas but I had covered a few shifts for a colleague to help him out with Ramadan and Eid. He ended up having a few days off rota over Christmas and immediately offered to cover some of my shifts. Well, the murders it caused! He was called all sorts for not offering to cover a childed colleague, I was called all sorts for refusing to let this colleague have the free time instead of me. It’s worth pointing out that my Dad was dying at the time! Moral of the story? Never give in and always do favours for colleagues of different religions.
*I once had someone work for me like this, always getting in first and booking the best dates (including Christmas) on the first day the coming years holiday system opened.
He wasn’t happy when I told him it didn’t work like that and we had to be fair to everyone and allow people the same chance to take Christmas off.*
But surely that is how it works if you have a holiday system that ‘opens’ on a certain day? That’s the downside of a first come first served system, if you’re not the first to come you’re not the first served.
I think it should be allocated fairly and decently rather than FCFS – in my work we can mostly all be off at Christmas but we need one person working remotely on each of the non-bank holiday days (nothing proactive, just keeping an eye), and we generally just discuss our Christmas plans as a team and work out who can cover when. I’m one of the only ones with young children currently but I’m also on the management team, so I’d be first in line to volunteer to be on duty at Christmas because I get paid more/am more responsible for things being covered than my direct reports. Admittedly it’s easier with remote working, hopefully the new prevalence of that will help lots of people cover Christmas where they’d have struggled before. My other team member with young DC is Muslim but I don’t think she’s any keener to work at Christmas for that – it’s still the only time you get a decent cluster of bank holidays that might allow you to see family further afield and so on (also, she seems wildly excited for Christmas anyway! I think most people enjoy it as a secular celebration these days.)
I don’t think parents should get preferential treatment but nor does first come first serve always seem fair.
I didn’t mind working Christmas Day etc when I didn’t have kids if somebody really wanted it off with their kids. I definitely prefer not working Christmas Day but if I am then I just get on with it and don’t assume I have any more right to be off than anyone else
Sort of. But there are also times when childcare isn’t available and so someone has to look after the kids. We juggle it between us, but sometimes it has to be me. So I think YAB(a bit)U. Also – all of my annual leave is taken up dealing with the kids. I have no time to myself at all. It’s swings and roundabouts really!
I am an actual fully grown adult female mammal. It is literally in my DNA (and that of all females of every species ) to reproduce.. it’s a thing called ‘biology’
Yes there are people who choose to buck biological functions.. that is the beauty of ‘higher functioning’ mammals…but in the main. We reproduce. If we didn’t there would be no more pensions, and we (the childless by choice ) would have no one to support us and we would need to be working until we die in our late 80s …
I think it is the least we can do –
To support the people who have kids ..
They support me..
YANBU. My life is not less important because I don’t have children.
But what I don’t understand is why people without kids would want to take holiday when the kids are off! I’d be avoiding it like the plague
Because our lives still happen in school holidays – mid week weddings, needing a morning off to take the car for its MOT, wanting to go away with friends/family who have children, that sort of thing.
I give single people priority at Christmas, as they often have to travel to stay with parents or siblings.
People don’t need to not have babies, they just need to organise and pay for childcare. It’s what most working parents do.
It never bothered me when I was child free. My folks both worked so I knew how much of a PITA it was to get childcare or be able to go to Nativity plays and the like.
No one ever asked me for my actual holiday entitlement though. That is cheeky in the extreme.
If you are a lone parent without a support network and there is no childcare physically available as it’s all shut Christmas day what do you suggest?
And before you say it people’s circumstances change after they’ve had children.
The same argument would also apply to carers. Anyone with young kids/disabled/elderly dependants should take priority over someone with no caring responsibilities at those times of the year when it could be impossible to find an alternative.
If you have kids you are stuck with paying over the odds and competing with all other parents for time off during the holidays. As for organising in advance, depends where you work. Some companies don’t allow you to book more than 6 months ahead.
So it depends on the circumstances and the job. You simply can’t make a sweeping statement like the OP did. When I was single, I didn’t mind parents booking time off over Christmas whilst I worked. My plans were flexible.
When I was a parent, I knew that guilt of having to be there for every Christmas play, every school performance, every special assembly, every Christmas Day. Juggling all that with work was a nightmare and you did rely sometimes on the goodwill of colleagues – that you would pay them back for.
Everyone has an opinion on this and everyone will have a story, which goes to show that there is no right or wrong answer. Be kind, be understanding and try to put yourself in their shoes before you judge.
As someone without children, there always seems to be the tacit assumption I’ll work during the school holidays, giving priority to those with kids. To be fair, I don’t mind – my commute is easier, work is quieter and enjoy the peace when I holiday when the kids are at school. But I do find it irritating when things like shift patterns, on-call, attendance at certain meetings falls to me because I’m the one who’ll be available and won’t have to dash off or work around the school run etc. It does feel like you get taken for granted.
Parents should absolutely not get preferential treatment. Time off during popular holiday periods should be discussed with the whole team beforehand. I canvassed my team about Christmas to see what everyone was wanted before holiday requests were put in. If there had been clashes, I would have tried to spread things as evenly as I could.
For general holiday requests, I treat them as first come first served. In the event that someone wanted to book off a week that was already booked out, I’d be willing to have a conversation with the people involved to see if anyone is in a position to be flexible and expect my team members to be considerate to each other, but if that’s the time they want off, and it’s already approved, I wouldn’t try to force the issue.
A person being a parent would not come into it. They get flexibility if they need unexpected time off in the form of dependant leave, but having a child is their choice and other people are not responsible for them.
If you want the holiday, book it in before someone else does.