- All citizens at various points in life are unable to take care of themselves and need care
- Those who need care are full citizens in society and are worthy of respect and dignity and input into the care they receive
- The care of the young, sick, handicapped, frail, elderly and dying is vital to the functioning of society
- Children are vital to the economy and the continuation of community
- It is in the interest of society to ensure children are born and are well cared for
- Having children takes time, has financial cost and reduces ability to do paid work and to pay tax
a. Ensure dignity, equality and choice for the caregiver role
- valuing the traditional care role of the young, handicapped, frail elderly and dying as vital to a household and to an economy
- equally valuing the role regardless of gender, marital status or blood relation of the caregiver to the care receiver
- equally valuing the at home care role with paid care roles, in status and dignity and access to benefits of paid workers
- equally valuing life choices between those who provide care of family themselves and those who engage the services of others to provide this care
b. Change the language
- enlarge definition of work to include unpaid care roles, domestic and volunteer roles
- include unpaid caregivers in categories of worker, working mother, working couple
- enlarge definition of labor force and productivity to include unpaid caregivers
- enlarge list of professions to include caregiver in the home
- enlarge definition of childcare to include all care of children regardless of identity of care provider
- expand terms eldercare and homecare to include unpaid care settings
- expand definition of costs of caregiving to include opportunity costs salary sacrifice of the unpaid caregiver, and out of pocket costs incurred in provision of care
- expand definition of government revenue to count the value of unpaid work in the economy
c. Change the collection of data
- include unpaid and volunteer work in the official GDP and satellite accounts
- in census, household and time use surveys include a tally of unpaid roles
d. Change the tax system
- ensure that maternity, paternity and parental benefits are universal, based on maternity, paternity or legal adoption, and on the existence of a child needing care, not on paid labor force history of the caregiver
- ensure any benefits for children are universal, including a birth bonus, child dependent deduction, and family allowance of substantial enough amount to be of genuine help offsetting some costs of childrearing
- ensure equal government financial support for care of a child that does not favor or discriminate against any particular care style – funding ‘follows the child’
- ensure that government funding for care of the young flows directly to the parent or legal guardian to enable the family to choose a care style that meets their needs and the best interest of the child
- ensure that this range of equally funded options for care of children includes care by a family member, friend, nanny, sitter or 3rd party daycare worker. with no receipts required, recognizing the rights of parents and their status as knowledgeable about the best interests of the child
- permit individuals to pay tax as individuals or as households that share income
- recognize the caregiver in a household as interdependent with the earner not as dependent both during marriage and cohabitation and in the event of dissolution of marriage, entitling the non-earner to full benefit of assets acquired during the marriage
- permit single parent households the option of being taxed as sharing income with offspring to enable for them to also access reduced household based tax
- include the caregiver as a full person in the government pension plan and that the time devoted to unpaid care work is counted as contribution to such a plan
- ensure that government funding for long term care of the handicapped, frail elderly or dying follows the person needing care and ensures free choice of the parties concerned and their direction of how to spend this funding
e. Change the consultation
- ensure that current and new legislation considers the effect on the care sector consult with the unpaid care sector and the home in the framing of any laws that will affect the home
- ensure those who need care are consulted in the framing of any legislation that affects them
- ensure that those who provide care are consulted in framing of any legislation that affects them
- ensure that consultations about care of the young, sick, handicapped, frail elderly or dying, are publicly announced, not closed door or by invitation only and that unpaid caregivers are given equal opportunity to speak along with paid caregivers
- ensure full transparency regarding government funding of care of its young, sick, handicapped, frail elderly and dying and its funding or assistance to advocacy groups about caregiving
GENERAL MERITS OF SUCH CHANGES
- such changes empower women to full range of choices of how to contribute to society
- such changes empower women to financial security for their own roles
- such changes complete the feminist movement for full equality with men and between roles of women
- such changes being gender blind and empower men to do care roles with dignity and financial security as they wish
- such changes more accurately reflect the economic activity and stability of a nation
- such changes ensure the first tier of health care and emotional support of the family is able to function, ensuring lower costs for more formal systems of health care, social services
- such changes by empowering choice and flexibility reduce risk of child insecurity, child poverty, school dropout, criminal justice involvement, gang membership, alcohol and drug abuse
- such changes empower citizens to have full choice of career and family balance, and freedom to choose to have children they can afford to raise, enhancing the birth rate and the long term tax base of a nation
MERITS OF THE EXPANDED DEFINITION OF EQUALITY
This type of equality is not limited therefore in goals in the paid workforce though those also are commendable for pay equity and gender blind promotions and advancement.
This aims at a wider definition of equality. In the past equality has been viewed as equal presence of men and women in paid labor, equal numbers of women and men in all university faculties, all corporate ranks, all professions, equal numbers of male and female judges, CEOs.
However this paper recommends equality of opportunity, dignity, remuneration and choice.
That may lead to unequal numbers of some professions over others from time to time as individuals prefer.
In the past equality has been viewed as equal numbers of men and women in government, as representatives, mayors, senators, judges. However this paper recommends equality of opportunity, dignity, remuneration and choice about such careers that may lead to unequal numbers from time to time as individuals prefer.
All men and women have a right to be consulted in issues that concern them, and to be elected to represent concerns, but the result may not be equal numbers based on gender alone. This paper aims at a gender neutrality that does not assume any gender is by definition unable to fairly advocate for the other gender also.
In the past equality has aimed at women getting equal status with men. This goal however is only half way to full equality. This paper aims at equal status between roles.
Historically the care role was female and the paid workforce role was male. This paper aims at equality between those, male or female who do paid roles and those male or female who do care roles. This means that it is not enough to ensure that women at the paid job earn the same as men do. Equality is not attained until women in the home doing care roles have the same dignity and social status and parallel financial recognition with those women who do paid work outside the home. This equality between women is as vital as equality between men and women.
In the past equality has aimed at equal pay for work of equal value.
Restricting this definition to paid work outside the home however limits the full application of the principle that work is work, wherever done. This paper aims at valuing unpaid work with paid work, in the household between partners in whatever way they wish to share roles, and also in the economy, so the unpaid sector is seen as the huge portion of the GDP that it is.
In the past women’s activists have aimed at equality of doing the care roles, and equality of time men and women spent doing dishes, laundry, taking care of children. This paper however aims at freedom to choose who does those roles, as each household prefers, with dignity and respect for whoever does the paid and unpaid roles, equally.
MERITS OF THE CHANGES TO ENSURE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
The proposed changes are consistent with and vital to the full practice and enjoyment of the rights of the child.
All children are of equal value in society.
The child has the right to being raised in an environment of love and protection.
The child has the right to adequate housing.
The child has the right to freedom from hunger.
The child has the right to easy and quick access to appropriate medical care without cost.
The child has the right to safety and security of person, supervised by a responsible adult in all of its early years.
The child has the right to have key decisions made for him or her during the period of vulnerability, to be made by those who love the child and are most attuned to the best interests of the child, being wherever possible and by preference the parents.
The child has the right to play, to not be forced to earn money.
The child has the right to freedom from being exploited or used by others for commercial purposes or to promote political or other agendas the child does not understand.
The child has the right to learn, to be exposed to books and activities to develop skills at appropriate developmental levels, with encouragement and close attention to individual learning style and attention span.
The best interests of the child shall be the guiding principle of those responsible for his education and guidance; that responsibility lies in the first place with his parents.
The child has the right to financial support by government that ensures the above rights and that is not dependent on factors such as marital status of parents, gender, religion, race, ethnicity, political or religious affiliation, paid employment status or income level of the parents. The funding will ensure the child is not raised in poverty and that the childs economic wellbeing is not dependent of the ups and downs of household circumstance. The funding, by its universal nontaxable nature will also ensure a basic right of children to equal benefit under the law.
Along with an end to child poverty, this provision will ensure that children are at low risk for outcomes that are closely linked to poverty such as illness, depression and low selfesteem.
The child has the right to protection from sexual or other predators.
The child has a right to be consulted in all matters related to the choice of caregiver of the child. Even young children who do prefer a certain caregiver must be respected for their opinion.
The child has the right to attentive care individually or in small groups, to ensure that the needs of the child are met.
The child has the right to access to both birth parents and family related by birth, regardless of marital status of parents, unless such access poses a threat of harm to the child. The child has the right to know his or her personal and medical history.
The child has the right to be raised in the language, values and culture of the parents.
The child has the right to pride in his or her cultural heritage and to be treated with dignity and respect.
A child has the right, when being cared for by a nonfamily member, to specially inspected care standards to ensure the above rights are respected.