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But it isn't "discriminating based on parental leave". It's "discriminating" based on experience. The reason why someone takes a year (or whatever) off isn't the issue.

Does this feel unfair in some sense? Yeah. But would it be less unfair to artificially punish the person who didn't take time off? Questionable...




> Does this feel unfair in some sense? Yeah. But would it be less unfair to artificially punish the person who didn't take time off? Questionable...

It's not even about punishment. Calling it discrimination is like saying that hiring based on years of experience discriminates against younger people. It's the wrong point at which to solve the problem.

We know that taking a year off impacts employment prospects. If we want to compensate for it, what should we do?

The implied solution is to force employers to hire less experienced workers. But that has all kinds of known problems. The quality of their work will be lower. It creates an incentive for businesses to cheat and benefits the ones that do. The cost is not uniformly distributed, which creates risk and surprise for smaller businesses that may not be able to absorb the sudden cost.

What problem are we trying to solve here? We want to encourage parenting and help parents, so do that. Have a social insurance program for parental leave equivalent to unemployment insurance. Have a generous tax deduction for dependent children that compensates for the resulting lower salary. Do things, in general, that spreads the risk across all taxpayers rather than creating asymmetric costs for the employers who happen to employ parents, so that we avoid giving employers a perverse incentive to find ways to offset the cost.

It's not a problem if you make $5000/year less in salary if you also pay $5000/year less in taxes. Or $10,000/year less in taxes.


You make very valid points about determining the actual outcome we prefer and channeling solutions to achieve them.

There is some nuance. For example, a $5k tax credit might help me level the playing field today, but that $5k difference still exists for social security calculation.


> There is some nuance. For example, a $5k tax credit might help me level the playing field today, but that $5k difference still exists for social security calculation.

Sure, so identify the problems and fix them. The way social security works is illogical. It's supposed to be a safety net, so why do we pay in proportion to past income rather than giving everyone the same amount? Do the affluent somehow need a larger safety net? If anything they should be expected to have more of their own savings.


The system is perfectly logical, the more you pay in over your career (based on income), the more you receive annually upon retirement. The real question is whether this is the optimal setup for broader society.


I guess there may be some situations where one year of experience more or less makes a big difference, but it doesn't seem like that big a deal? It would be like hiring someone one year younger.


If you're getting X% merit increases every year and miss one, it will look forever as if you're underpaid relative to your peers. So people who take a long parental leave will have a permanent "pay gap" unless either the company pro-actively bumps them up (pay for the absent time as if they were present) or the employee overachieves to catch up (in which case they still have a pay gap relative to their overachieving peers).

Of course, there's also ramp-down and ramp-up time on each side of the leave. I'd expect a leave of 12 months is probably closer to a total productivity loss of 18 month, which will drag pay down further if there's a reduction to a second merit increase. If you take years off, as many do, staying home until the kid enters kindergarten, then you're probably looking at a massive relative gap when you start back.

But yeah, taking a year for parental leave is not a death knell for most professionals' careers. It will realistically result in a long-term salary depression relative to peers, though.


Since I started out working for startups, I guess I'm used to people changing jobs so often that you can't really generalize about salary like that. Like, I can't imagine judging someone by their previous or current salary versus age. (Or even knowing either data point with much precision.)


You're right that it's not cut-and-dry. A year out of the workforce doesn't guarantee a lower salary for any particular individual. It does bias toward a lower salary, though. This is the case whether you're job-hopping or not.


For women it makes a big difference as there is generally a choice to make between 25-35 as To whether they’d like to further their career or take time out to have a child.

Most women also reasonably choose to prioritize family over career when their children are very young further inhibiting them from advancing their career during that time.


I wish this were true, but in technology (my field) one year can make you fairly outdated and unprepared to perform strong interviews. And in some tech industries such as frontend web development, one year is practically a lifetime.


It occurs to me that you're kind of equating a year of holidays with that of having a baby, which ensures the continuation of our species. In our (HN) case, that is putting a few more technologist offsprings into the mix for what that's worth.

I can assure you looking after a baby the first year is not leisure time.


I am in no way saying that taking care of a baby is leisure time, or anything of the sort. I'm just saying from the perspective of an employer evaluating two candidates, if all other things are equal, and one took a year off and one didn't, and the employer chooses the candidate who was at work continuously, they weren't specifically discriminating against "parental leave".From that point of view, the reason doesn't actually matter at all, as they are just comparing two candidates.

Of course in reality human nature being what it is, some people probably do actually care. And rarely are "all other things exactly equal". I'd guess most employers would be more favorable towards someone who took a year off to raise a baby, as opposed to taking a year off just to lounge around.


>I'm just saying from the perspective of an employer evaluating two candidates, if all other things are equal, and one took a year off and one didn't, and the employer chooses the candidate who was at work continuously, they weren't specifically discriminating against "parental leave".

Gender aside, this is still discrimination based on a persons “experience”, as you call it, or very simply: their employment status.

This is against the law. Plain and simple. Look at some of the laws enacted over the years, starting in 2011 [1].

[1]: http://www.ncsl.org/research/labor-and-employment/discrimina...


> Gender aside, this is still discrimination based on a persons “experience”, as you call it, or very simply: their employment status. This is against the law. Plain and simple.

I'm not a lawyer, but that doesn't sound right to me.

Consider four people who graduated at the same age, then took different paths:

* Experienced Eric worked for the same company for 11 years, is still there, and is considering a new job.

* Younger Yenina worked for the same company for 10 years, is still there, and is considering a new job.

* Late Larry searched for a job for 1 year, worked for the same company for 10 years, is still there, and is considering a new job.

* Unemployed Ursula worked for the same company for 10 years, got laid off, and has been looking for 1 year.

The law you quoted appears to say it's illegal to discriminate against Unemployed Ursula for being currently unemployed, so she should have the same shot as Younger Yenina and Late Larry. It doesn't say her year of unemployment must be considered equal to Experience Eric's extra year of work.

(There are also age discrimination laws that say you can't prefer Younger Yenina simply for being younger, gender discrimination laws that say you can't prefer Late Larry simply for being male, etc.)


>The law you quoted appears to say it's illegal to discriminate against Unemployed Ursula for being currently unemployed, so she should have the same shot as Younger Yenina and Late Larry. It doesn't say her year of unemployment must be considered equal to Experience Eric's extra year of work.

The argument made prior to this is not that an unemployed person is equal to a continuously employed worker but merely that unemployment should not and cannot affect your qualifications for position X. The law is pretty general as it states an employed person is anyone who does not have a job, is able to work, and is seeking work.

If Eric, Yenina, Ursula, and Larry are all able bodies, placing Ursula in her own category based solely on a gap year is in itself discriminatory.

The parent comments are taking the gap year into account—something that can be elaborated on, but should never be a deciding factor. The general consensus ITT is that Eric automatically is a better fit for position X than Ursula based solely on their employment history.

That argument in itself shows biases toward length of employment and current status, with the latter being something that should be irrelevant in a hiring process.

Edit: to show an example, most job postings on P&G have this disclosure:

>Qualified individuals will not be disadvantaged based on being unemployed.

That one line is what everybody is arguing againat, that unemployment automatically declines your qualifications.


> The argument made prior to this is not that an unemployed person is equal to a continuously employed worker

Isn't it? Maybe that's not what you meant to say, but even now as I re-read your earlier comment I think that's what you said. Based on the downvotes and jimjansen's reply, I'm not alone. jimjansen's reply in fact seems to have taken you to mean that you simply cannot consider someone's experience at all, which is a totally unreasonable position and consistent with your wording. I tried to be more generous in my interpretation but simply can't interpret your earlier comment in way that's consistent with the (correct) idea that one can legally hire Experienced Eric rather than Unemployed Ursula because of his additional experience.

(By the way, unfortunately I think these discrimination laws are basically toothless because in real life there are many factors that legally can be considered, they're all subjective, and employers are under no obligation to explain their reasoning. So you can almost never prove discrimination unless they are dumb enough to tell you about it.)


>But it isn't "discriminating based on parental leave". It's "discriminating" based on experience. The reason why someone takes a year (or whatever) off isn't the issue.

The commenter clearly stated their point. Businesses don't care why you have a one year gap. They only care that you have a one year gap.

In no way did they call having a baby a vacation.


This is what is taught in our schools. Grievance studies. If someone can take offense by reading between the lines and constructing a strawman, you must conclude that offense was intentional and attack the offender. Benefit of doubt, presumption of innocence is gone.


on the other hand, there are already quite a lot of us on this planet. not every single parent is doing a Good Deed by bringing yet another life into this world.


There are too many, but look at where that population growth is coming from.

Looking at the bigger picture we should be doing everything we can to encourage family growth within our own ranks. I'd argue that most people on HN etc would make excellent, above average parents if only because they are so engaged.

Sorry to go further off topic.


Many people have posited that a shrinking population will have a more deleterious effect than a booming one.

We’ll see in Japan in the next two decades. Europe is next.


This idea that putting aside the amount of parental leave candidates took when evaluating them for promotion is somehow "punishing" people who didn't take leave seems like a real stretch to me.

I don't think it'd be difficult to let people enjoy the benefits the company has agreed to provide without punishing them, indeed, this strikes me as the only reasonable way for the company to behave. Ideally, as time goes on, all employees with avail themselves of the full suite of benefits making this discrimination againts those who use their benefits will become moot.


Its still indirect discrimination and is there really much difference between a woman with nine years and a man with ten.




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