The Big Debate: Maternity leave

Should women without children be allowed maternity leave?

Forget X-Factor, this week everyone is talking about maternity leave, asking whether women without children should also be legally entitled to take time off work.

A new study has revealed that 74% of women support the idea that non-mothers should be allowed to take six months off work, just as mothers do when they give birth.

More than two thirds of those surveyed were mothers themselves. But not everyone agrees that a six-month sabbatical for non-mothers is a good idea.

Corin Taylor, senior policy adviser at the Institute of Directors, said: ‘This is a nonsensical idea in the best of times. But in the deepest post-war recession, granting rights to women without children would be foolish.’

Phil McCabe of the Forum of Private Business said: ‘Many employers would love to offer their staff more flexibility, but it is just not practical for most companies, especially small ones. It’s a case of all hands to the pump right now.’

So what do you think? Should childless women be able to take time off to see the world, sleep late or simply pursue other projects? Or should we keep working and reserve maternity leave for those women who need it?

This is your chance to share your thoughts with other women who want an intelligent debate on the subjects we’re all sharing with our friends.

Reading now