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People and Politics Forum 11. 07. 2008

"Should politicians take a job break to look after the baby?"

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More information:

Parental Leave - How to make a house husband out of a CSU politician

Granting men legal paternal leave was originally an SPD idea, but CSU politician Stefan Rößle has taken up the cause, much to the chagrin of his fellow conservative party comrades. But Rößle plans to take his own 2-month paternal leave, much to the pleasure of his wife, and the opposition party that promoted the idea in the first place.

Our Question is:

"Should politicians take a job break to look after the baby?"

In Brazil, René Junghans writes:

"Why should they? They are already idle most of the year round! Paternal leave in itself is important for any father because personal contact has a positive impact on babies right from birth. ...Every dad should stand by his child's side, offering his guidance, love and help. As to politicians: they should get on with their official work and do something positive instead of using the birth of a child as an excuse to perpetuate their idlesness."

Gerhard Seeger, in the Philippines, stresses the special role of politicians:

"Generally, paternal leave is OK, but in politics it's entirely a different matter. Already in industry it won't be easy for someone with a leading, responsible position to take leave, and politicians are elected state representatives: in the case of a crisis they need to be in the know and in continual contact. Is that possible on paternal leave?"

And Gaby Bruns, in Venezuela, adds:

"Politicians are given big salaries by taxpayers. These "state servants" should be able to afford a nanny while getting on with the job they were voted into office for."

Dorothea Well,in Ghana, does not agree:

"Yes, they really should take a break from their job. After all, they are not in their offices during the summer recess, so why not look after the baby during a job break? That experience can certainly be useful for their work, giving them insight into family affairs, society, children's upringing, social responsibility and other little trials and tribulations of everyday life, and it can heighten respect for their wives...Children will show their gratitude and they will have given a good example!"

Wilfried Fuchs agrees, using deep irony:

"Yes of course politicians should take a break: preferably all of them, and forever. Then the world would be a better place."

And Bernd Meihöfener, in Germany, is also scathing:

"I would give Mr Rössle (the protaganist in the report) eternal paternal leave, but not at the expense of society and the taxpayer, and then I'd find - amongst a staff of 2,000 - a better candidate for the job."

In Argentina, Helge Weyland is a bit more conciliatory:

"Of course poiticians can take a break to look after the baby, they are only human. But some politicians should take life-long paternal leave."

Martin Burmeister, writing from Venezuela, is all for compromise:

"It's up to the individual - and that includes politicians, but it shouldn't have a negative impact on their commitments."

The People and Politics desk reserves the right to edit and abbreviate texts.