Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Budget to promote Traditional Catholic Families

I buy L'Osservatore Romano every Sunday, but I tuck it into my News of the World in case the neighbours might see it. Next week I anticipate banner headlines announcing that the Vatican has welcomed the Irish Budget, with His Holiness Pope Benedict calling for other countries to follow “this visionary charter for catholic mothers”.

He will, of course, be referring to the new provisions for maternity leave announced today in the budget. These extend paid maternity leave to 26 weeks and unpaid leave to 30 weeks, making a total of 56 weeks in all.

With a little judicious family planning, it will now be possible for catholic mothers to conceive, gestate and give birth while actually on maternity leave, triggering a further 56 weeks of paid and unpaid leave. Thus a couple can now plan to have a traditional “steps of stairs” catholic family with the female spouse not having to return to work while rearing the family.

In each 56 week period she will be paid, on average, at least 66% of her normal gross salary when social welfare entitlements are included. This will result in a very modest impact on after-tax income with the added benefit that the crippling costs of childcare are avoided. The net result should be income-positive for the household! This scenario will obviously provide a substantial financial incentive to reproduce on as large a scale as possible over a prolonged period.

Clearly the phone lines to All Hallows are not only open but also buzzing. Surely this is Bertie's way of saying "Up yours, Liz!", while side-swiping Mary Robinson at the same time. Now that's what you call killing two birds with one phone (call).

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