Posted on 8.5.15 by David Walton
I wrote last year about the privileged position of some employees in the ITV series Downton Abbey and how the “job for life” has largely disappeared. Yes, there are still family businesses where the owners are proud of a zero-attrition rate but they are definitely a dying breed. However, there is one very obvious exception still flying the “family jobs for life” flag – the Royal Family.
Princess Kate has already got her job for life in the bag. She successfully passed through the interview and assessment centre some time ago, presumably displaying the etiquette of how to deal with a piece of collapsing Battenburg cake, amongst other skills. She might no longer have the life, but she certainly has the job. Don’t get me wrong, she does seem absolutely lovely but her situation does bring that of most ordinary mortals into sharp contrast. You may not think of her as a job-holder as such, but actually that’s irrelevant to the royals when it comes to the myriad family-friendly rights available to employees.
Princess Kate won’t have to worry about whether she gets enhanced maternity pay, when her statutory maternity pay runs out, how to use her 10 paid Keeping in Touch days to best financial effect or how to address the thorny issue of requesting part-time work on her return. She won’t have to explain how she can possibly juggle her childcare commitments with her working-from-home request. She won’t have to argue that her role after maternity leave doesn’t match what she was doing beforehand and she’ s unlikely to be bothered by a contrived “redundancy” exercise when she comes back from maternity absence to find the other royals have taken up all her foreign trip commitments. No need to calculate whether to use annual leave entitlement before, or tagged on to the end of, her maternity leave. No need to stress about making the most of her tax-free childcare vouchers or allowances.
Going forward, Kate won’t have to trouble herself about emergency (unpaid) time off for dependants, nor will she have to battle for equal pay or against glass ceilings. So, leaving aside whether Kate’s very public “job” is one we’d all genuinely want or not, I’d say there’s still plenty for her to be grateful for!