The woman argued that a childfree colleagues should have as much right to take time off as any parent.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on December 24, 2021. It has since been updated.
'Parenting is about juggling a hundred different responsibilities at the same time, and for many, work is one of them. In some workplaces, parents are given preferential treatment over people without kids on the account that they have more work to do, and the acknowledgment that raising a child is not easy. People without kids overwhelmingly believe they shouldn't be discriminated against on the account of their family status. One parent took to Mumsnet to share her take on the issue to check what other parents thought about it and it sparked a heated debate in the comments section.
The parent said every employee should be treated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis when it comes to taking time off work and parents shouldn't get any preferential treatment. "I just read an article on Facebook about this. A parent had asked a childfree colleague if she could have some of her saved holiday days and was refused (understandably). That's obviously a CF request. But in general, what do you think about parents and holiday requests Vs childfree colleagues?" they asked the forum.
They felt everyone should be treated equally irrespective of their family status. "I don't believe parents should be given priority when it comes to time off on any holiday, be it summer or Christmas etc. I think it should always, generally, work on a first-come-first-served basis. The number of times I was refused any sort of time off in the summer because every single parent in the office had booked off the summer and they were given first dibs on those dates used to annoy me," they recalled, before adding that their opinion didn't change after becoming a parent themselves.
"I'm a parent now but my opinion hasn't changed on that. I think if someone childfree has gotten there with the request before you then that's tough," they wrote. "Same with Christmas, if you work a job that requires Christmas working, I don't think it's fair to allow the same people off every Christmas year in year out. It's definitely something I've experienced in my workplace before and after having DC and it feels very unfair. I really don't think it's anyone else's responsibility to ensure you get time off during school holidays or things like Christmas and that a childfree colleague has as much right to book the time off as any parent," they concluded, before asking the community if they were being unreasonable.
The comments section was divided on the topic. One parent argued that people without kids would be better off not taking days off during holidays. "Hmmm on the fence here as a parent, you have to accept to a degree that people will want that time off at certain ages. Equally as someone who pays for a lot of childcare in holidays, it shouldn't be all the time. But what I don't understand is why people without kids would want to take holiday when the kids are off! I'd be avoiding it like the plague ;)" wrote one person. Some said people without kids shouldn't be affected by the decisions parents take. "Being a parent is my choice, it’s not for that choice to impact on other people's ability to take annual leave. If you have to work holidays you have to find childcare, just the way it is," wrote another person.
Another argued that childcare was very expensive during holidays and left parents at a huge disadvantage. "In theory, absolutely yes. I do not believe free time or holidays are more inherently valuable to parents. However… we live in a country/world where the vast majority of mothers cannot afford to NOT work, yet school is 9-3, term-time only. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a retired grandparent who is happy & capable to look after the children, what is the alternative?" they asked.