One of the talking-class' subjects this weekend is the notion that employed non-parents should enjoy the same paid leave as parents away on maternity / paternity leave. Before you splutter your Yorkshire pudding in rage, consider the equalities effects.
I'm talking about the pay gap between the sexes. last time I looked at this, it was about 18%. Lefties ascribe the whole 18% to taste discrimination, i.e. misogyny, but this not supported by the economic evidence. Hiring and pay and reward decisions are made by non-discriminating employers on the basis of qualifications, experience and 'y', an 'employability' factor. Thus a man and a woman with the same 2:1 working for the same firm for the same number of years and with equal 'employability' should enjoy the same reward. And very largely they do - the difference attributable to taste discrimination hovers somewhere about 4%.
So how do we account for the other 14% difference? Simply, women score lower on 'experience' overall on account of spending significant time out of the workforce having children. Our man and women with identical 2:1s are different in this respect; she's had two kids and has spent 2 years at home on maternity leave. He hasn't. She earns less than he does. And the firm is acting perfectly responsibly.
All that splitting paid time-off between male and female parents will achieve is to remove the sex correlation from lower pay; all parents will be paid less than non-parents. And in a world of perfect equality, the only way to redress the gap is either to allow non-parents to take the same-time out or to abolish maternity / paternity leave altogether.
Don't bite my head off for summarising a massive area of academic research in a short blog post, please. And no, I won't give academic references - if you want to know, go and do the same Masters that I did.