We become entrepreneurs because we love freedom. That means making our own choices – which means taking responsibility for the consequences of those choices. A choice without consequences is not really a choice.
This applies both to business choices and to personal choices. We cannot defend our right to make our own business choices without defending the rights of others to make their own personal choices, such as the choice to have children. However, just as we take responsibility for our business choices as entrepreneurs, those who choose to be parents must take responsibility for their personal choices.
So it is unfair for anyone to choose to have a child and then expect someone else to take responsibility for the consequences.
Yet that is exactly the effect of maternity and paternity leave. An employee makes the choice to have a child – and would, quite rightly, object to any employer interfering in that choice – and then forces the same employer to bear some of the consequences of the same choice.
The poor employer has to suffer the negative consequences without enjoying any of the positive things usually associated with making children!
Even where the employer can reclaim the employee’s salary from the state – which is not always the case – the business must cope with the disruption of an employee being absent for a prolonged period without the option of hiring a permanent replacement. It is also unfair to any temporary replacement.
However, there are more employees than employers, so politicians seem incapable of resisting any proposal to extend maternity and paternity benefits, however unfair, uneconomic, and – in an overpopulated world – unnecessary they might be.
So, as if the recent stupidity of the Equality Act wasn’t enough, it comes as no surprise that the European Parliament has added more poison to the chalice by voting to increase maternity leave.
The lives of politicians in general are themselves another example of the power to choose being divorced from responsibility for the consequences of those choices. They can impose any burdens on business safe in the knowledge that it will not impact on their own daily existence – a privilege they exercise without restraint.
Can it get any more stupid? Sadly yes it can and yes it will.