Maternity rights led to UK population boom | Letters

Andy Beckett considers a number of reasons for the increase in growth of the UK’s population (Boomtime, G2, 10 February) but fails to mention the introduction of maternity leave and the right to return to work introduced in the 1970s. Certainly for me the prospect of leaving a job I liked and being condemned, as was my mother, to the life of housewife and nanny, was enough to put me off embracing parenthood. In those days, there were few part time jobs which accommodated holidays once a child was at school (unless you were a teacher) and there was no statutory right to maternity pay. Adoption of these changes was slow – initially you were still regarded as eccentric if you planned to return to work after giving birth – which might well explain why the pattern did not change significantly until the 1990s. I am constantly astounded that some many young people do not appreciate that their right to continuing employment did not exist 40 years ago.
Maureen Panton
Malvern, Worcestershire

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Andy Beckett considers a number of reasons for the increase in growth of the UK’s population (Boomtime, G2, 10 February) but fails to mention the introduction of maternity leave and the right to return to work introduced in the 1970s. Certainly for me the prospect of leaving a job I liked and being condemned, as was my mother, to the life of housewife and nanny, was enough to put me off embracing parenthood. In those days, there were few part time jobs which accommodated holidays once a child was at school (unless you were a teacher) and there was no statutory right to maternity pay. Adoption of these changes was slow – initially you were still regarded as eccentric if you planned to return to work after giving birth – which might well explain why the pattern did not change significantly until the 1990s. I am constantly astounded that some many young people do not appreciate that their right to continuing employment did not exist 40 years ago.
Maureen Panton
Malvern, Worcestershire

Continue reading…

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