Open Democracy: Maternity leave

Could our leadership take a page from the open source software community by opening up our democracy?  What is open democracy?  How is it different from what we have today? What does it have to do with maternity leave?  How can we use it to achieve better governance?

Open democracy is a form of governance that values participation over power.  Acquiring it’s ideals from the open source software community, it capitalizes on the the power of online communication in order to change offline politics.  It changes traditional governance from being top-down into bottom up by giving the people greater involvement and a greater voice.

Traditionally, in the run up to an election political parties will spend a great deal of time composing their ideas on what they think you want to hear.  In leading nations, these ideas are typically compiled into a platform or manifesto describing a high level plan of what that party intends to accomplish during their term if elected to office.  The problem often encountered, however, is that this form of structure serves the political party in telling you what they think you want out of our leadership rather than you telling them exactly what it is you want.

A good example is the UBP’s recent proposal of extending maternity leave to 6 months.  6 months is great, but how do they know that that is what we want?  Maybe we want more?  Maybe we want less?  Maybe that’ll impact businesses too much?  Who should foot the bill?

This blog offered a write-up about it and intentionally took the devil’s advocate approach to use the comments to flush out all sides of debate, thus offering the best range of options in order to compose the best assessment of the stakeholders and the issues.

An extension of maternity leave brought forth a number of stakeholders that would be impacted by such changes. 

Families intending to have children and their ability to offer the best care

Women not intending to have children and their ability to not be discriminated against

Businesses, especially small businesses, who could likely suffer under the added costs and lost availability of their worker

These stakeholders face issues that raised a number of questions:

How long should paid maternity leave be?

How much should employers be required to foot the bill?

How much should government cover of the bill?

How much leave should be offered without pay with job guarantees?

Should families be able to split their leave amongst maternity and paternity leave?

Should ex-pats be offered work permit extensions to cover leave time?

A great many interesting questions and no-doubt it would be very easy for this writer to simply give you his opinion and leave it at that.   However, is there a better way?  Rather than simply getting my opinion, why don’t we get all of your opinions on what should happen with regards to maternity leave. 

So lets do that.

 

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Logo

Maternity leave

Page One

var sg_first_number = 1; 1. How long should paid maternity leave be?
2. How much should employers be required to foot of the bill?
3. How much should government cover of the bill?
4. How much leave should be offered without pay, beyond the initial paid leave, with job guarantees?
5. Should families be able to split their leave amongst maternity and paternity leave?
6. Should ex-pats be offered work permit extensions to cover leave time?

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Can we use such a method to achieve better governance?  Hopefully over the coming weeks we’ll be able to conduct more feedback sessions based upon our leadership’s intentions to give them an idea of just how useful public participation can be in governance and hopefully encourage them to consider embracing more aspects of open democracy.

If you haven’t filled out the Party Support Survey, please take a moment do to so.  The results will be posted soon and so far they’ve been fascinating.

Comments

comments

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5 thoughts on “Open Democracy: Maternity leave

  1. I think participatory democracy is a good idea… in theory. But ultimately, you will find that most people will not want to be bothered with questioning every single time a policy change is considered.
    What will eventually happen is that a small minority (probably like yourself) who are political junkies and would not mind committing so much time to policy decisions will end up participating more than others who (a) have other things to do or (b) believe that the people they hired to do the job (i.e. the people elected) should make the decisions.
    I’ve worked in groups where there is no leader. They’re not as effective as groups that do. And if the group becomes too big, the less effective the group becomes with selecting and executing decisions.
    I’ve read a few of your political restructuring posts… the only one that really makes sense and is feasible is the one regarding the recall (which already exists in a way).

  2. Bermudian,
    When it comes to composing a platform that best represents the interests of the people, I feel that feedback is essential and I would not be surprised if a great many youth agreed with me.
    It comes down to the generational gap and how each approaches leadership and decisionmaking (as I wrote about here: https://www.21square.com/2007/08/what-do-todays-.html)
    Elder individuals in our society are more likely to prefer a doctor centric or paternalistic approach to treatment where they’re told what is going to be done.
    Younger individuals, however, are more likely to prefer patient centric where they’re told what the treatment options are and they decide.
    I suspect that a similar mentality occurs between the generations with regards to politics and that the younger generations will increasingly expect more say in how things are done.
    Does that mean group deciding everything? Of course not, however with major issues such as major planks of a platform (should one even be produced) there are many who would likely want to have a say and then hire representatives who can make it happen.

  3. Forget maternity leave….how about some daycare options and facilites that do not make a new mothers blood run cold. Im on maternity leave right now…its been nothing but anxiety trying to find decent care for my baby. And dont even ask how many applications I got from the Philipines when I advertised for a daycare provider. One even said she would work for less than minimum wage and clean my toilets.

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