Motherhood, the infamous resignation

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The year 2014 was marked by an increase in the number of voluntary resignation, especially for women. More than one in two resigned after the birth of her first child, confirming how having an employment and caring for children and family remain in most cases two “incompatible” things. This is what has been shown by some previews from Labitalia related to the “Annual Report of 2014 on the validation of the resignation of working mothers and fathers”, published each year and drawn up on the basis of the monitoring carried out by the National Council for Equality and the Directorate General for Inspection Activities of the Ministry of Labour.

The report shows that in 2014 26,333 male and female workers resigned or terminated their contract by mutual agreement, + 11.27% compared to 23,666 in 2013. The data, however, reveals that 85% of them are mothers: there were 22,480 resigned mothers, + 5.62% compared to 21,282 of the previous year, while the number of employed fathers who resigned or solved by mutual consent their work situation appears smaller, 3,853.

Keep in mind that behind these numbers is hidden the phenomenon of the so-called “white resignations”, the sheet of resignation that some employers make women and men sign at the moment of recruitment, and that then is used in case of “emergency”, often when motherhood or long periods of illness occur. The issue of the “white resignations” is also one of the topics discussed within the bill related to the implementation of the Jobs Act, which saw Cisl in the forefront seeking appropriate solutions to effectively fight against this indefensible practice.

In 2007 the Parliament tried to do so with a law which required the obligation to compile the resignation on a specific template provided and made available by authorized officers, but this bill faded away because it was deemed complex and difficult to apply, until its abrogation in June 2008. Then a new solution was proposed with the labor reform Fornero in 2012, reintroducing a procedure to be followed at the validation of the resignation, with a declaration of willingness at the expense of the worker.

But even in this case the validation procedures introduced were considered too complex and entrusted to the worker who constituted the weak part in the employment relationship and who was blackmailed. As women of the CISL, we do not have a special fondness for this or that solution, for this or that law, but certainly we care about the protection of working mothers and working fathers. That’s why, together with other trade unions, associations and a number of women in politics and in the social, we have conducted a battle of civilization made up of national and regional mobilization and collection of signatures that have contributed to not lowering the guard, taking the spotlight on this serious and dangerous problem.

Our conviction and goal, therefore, is, beyond the above solutions, to not let the commitment on the issue of reconciling family and work fail, as it is suggested by the approval of the rule that extends the time to take a parental discharge, raising it from 3 to 6 years and from 8 to 12 years of the child, respectively for the one paid at 30% and for the unpaid one, the duration of which is still 6 months – this continues to determine forced choices, especially for women. Not surprisingly, according to Labitalia, at the base of the abandonment of the workplace there is “a persistent difficulty of reconciling private life and work”, especially in the age group between 26 and 35, which constitutes 57% of the ones who resign from work.

Therefore, action must be taken in both directions in order to find completion giving more value and support to women’s choices of maternity and of sharing with the workers fathers the parental and familiar responsibilities. As Cisl, while being vigilant on the application of legislative responses to issues pertaining to labor protection, we continue to strengthen and enhance the tools that are available to us, that is the bargaining of proximity, both in business and territorial, which is already giving satisfactory results.

Translation provided by Maria Rosaria Mastropaolo

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