Sunday, 2 November 2014

Freedom not Regulation Creates an Inclusive Society

On first listen this may seem like Nigel Farage is playing up to the UKIP stereotype of small minded bigotry, in contrast to the radio hosts who may seem quite evidently correct. If it does then I urge you to listen again to what Nigel is really saying regarding employing women of child bearing age. Rather than say what is politically correct Nigel actual states what happens in the real world.

The majority of people believe we need employment laws to protect employees. Living wages, anti-discrimination acts and rights to certain working conditions have been solved by markets, not legislation. For centuries Jewish minorities were persecuted, excluded from society and discriminated against yet they generally flourished economically. Why? Because they made themselves economically valuable and employable to overcome these barriers and gain acceptance. Cheap Eastern European workers continue to get jobs despite prejudices of many here in the UK. Information Technology has little or next to nothing in terms of workers unions yet enjoys very favourable working conditions. Flexible hours, working from home, good pay/benefits, interesting work and many other free perks. Workers in such fields actually have more power over their employer due to the competition for software developers. These rights have been gained not by unions but in spite of them. The best tool to combat prejudices and enable full opportunities for all is freedom. Markets are amoral. Morals are left with the individual which in a free marketplace means there will be little place for discrimination and disrespect. Employers who do, fail and go bust.

The current laws in the UK dictates that an employer can not discriminate against a women who potentially may have children in the near term future. So long as the women has worked for their employer for 26 weeks before their maternity leave takes place then they are entitled to a number of partially paid weeks leave that can vary from 2 weeks all the way to 52 weeks absence. Women are also entitled to pay rises and accrued holidays in their absence with the guarantee of a job when they do decide to return to work. The position Nigel Farage takes is "are you naive enough to believe a small employer with very limited resources doesn't take all this into account?"

The alternative without such mandated laws would be to reduce the current discrimination women face in the workplace due to these laws. It is true that women would no longer be entitled to Maternity leave which instead would be at a employers discretion. However more importantly women would find it far easier to get a job. Small businesses would not have the current legislation in the back of their minds when interviewing such a candidates. Instead the topic could be discussed in a mature manner rather than the women not even been given a real chance to the position before they discuss the candidates credentials. Getting a job and regular income is far more important than having no job which is exactly what the current laws cause. 

If you believe different you are either naive or arrogant. Small businesses, where someone is risking their own assets on borrowed money, have to take this into account thus will favour a male candidate as it currently stands. They may even do such an action when a more competent female candidate would be willing to do the role. When faced with two such candidates with an absence of the current laws the employer may be willing to take on the female over the male. Instead with no laws they could ask if they plan to return to work? What their career aspirations are? How long do they plan to take leave? Currently you can't even raise any of these issues in an interview as you may get a legal case on your hands. All of this would not cost the employee the current headache of where the women may take a whole year off and in the meantime the employer would have to employ another member of staff to cover the absence, pay the women maternity pay and still have to guarantee a job if the women decided to rejoin the workplace despite originally only having a single role available (otherwise they find themselves with a legal case). Women and young families would adjust accordingly to no guarantees in maternity leave. They could save in anticipation. Adjust their finances to a single income for couples. Private companies may start offering insurance, whereby a women saves with the third party in anticipation of becoming pregnant. They could even negotiate with the employer to still get a regular set of pay checks and stagger the unpaid leave across a 12 month period for example. Many options exist, far more exhaustive than the list given here, as freedom creates many more possibilities than one mind can think of.

So would people discriminate? Possibly but when markets are amoral it doesn't matter. Women may become more competitive then their male counterpart due to no laws. There will be entrepreneurs who employ such individuals because they believe, even with the maternity leave a women may voluntarily take, are far more productive than the other male candidate. I'm sure we have all heard hiring a good worker is worth two or more incompetent employees. Markets would quickly remove most such discrimination. Currently this discrimination is nationwide, however with freedom it would be relegated to small pockets. 

Women grafted their way into the workplace not from war, regulations or the enactment of laws. They got jobs and respect from their male counterparts because they proved themselves highly competent if not more able than many males. The key concept to understand is under the current laws the job for the female never exists. Under a complete absence of laws, the small company now has more incentive to employ the female. The two parties can have a rational conversation with one another to determine the exact circumstances. An employer doesn't want to let a good candidate go and would prefer to follow one of the options listed above. As Nigel Farage states its time to get rational and realistic rather than following some infantile political correctness thinking.

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