Sunday 19 November 2017

Coming home to closed curtains

• It is with a heavy heart that I return to work after maternity leave, having had my little boy in early February. I am grateful that I was able to avail of the statutory maternity benefits, along with the 16 weeks unpaid additional maternity leave, which will end on Monday. I have found an excellent creche for my son, and my letter is not a rant about this, but rather, what I have observed and feel as I return to work.

While there was condemnation of British Chancellor George Osborne's comments about the shift worker leaving home and passing the closed curtains of his neighbours on benefits, I do understand said sentiment. My husband goes to work along with a few others in my neighbourhood in the early hours; one neighbour claiming disability goes to the gym every morning after driving his children to school; the late night parties and loud music only stopped when the gardai were continually called.

I see other neighbours, half of whom work, the others at home, claiming that it is easier to be on benefit or in long-term unemployment as the creche costs, the cost of living etc, makes it unviable for them to properly work.

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