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2 hours ago, Uriel said:

Maybe you can fill in the gap here, since you're much more of an expert on the ins and outs of employment law.  I thought you had to stop working before you could even apply, that there was a one-week wait period of no pay, and then you would be paid for the remainder in the first 28 days.  Which is to say, you're not making rent unless you put it on your credit card.  So if you take three weeks off, you're getting $1,100.  In my case, the mom was a student so she wasn't entitled to anything.  It's a huge hit.  Rather than saving up $3,000 to cover the month, I just blew my vacation and got paid.

Things would be a lot easier if you could apply for EI in advance of going on leave.

You're right in that my proposal doesn't apply to the much more dire situation facing sole practitioners and other small business owners.  It was a specific proposal for a specific kind of workplace.  If I'm honest, I don't have any good idea how to build a better system for women in those situations.

In terms of the biological component, I'm definitely not advocating for any less time for maternity leave!  I hope I didn't come across as suggesting that the paternity leave should be taken out of a partner's leave, or that mat leave should be in any way abridged or considered a closed issue.  There's still a lot of work to be done, even in well-funded employer situations, to encourage and facilitate healthy pregnancies and infant rearing.  (Why doesn't everyone just consider a mat leave year a nullity, rather than adding an integer to the denominator of billable hours over years worked?)

I mean, if we're being honest, a year (or 35/61 weeks, as the case may be) is a completely arbitrary figure for mat leave.  If we were actually designing the system intelligently from scratch, rather than reacting reflexively to women unexpectedly entering the workforce and then trying to build around that male-centered improvisation, we would probably start from the principle that you should have three months of sick leave in the third trimester and 18 months to get the child up to an age where external care isn't detrimental to mom or tot.  

We were lucky (kind of?) in that Mrs. Uriel was a student when she had our daughter.  On the one hand, we were pretty broke.  On the other, though, she had some freedom to hang on to the wee one until she was ready for daycare.  It's nothing short of brutal what our system puts women and infants through when they don't have the luxury of not working, or getting by on a third of their pay.  I don't know how we, as a society, can walk past infant rooms in a daycare and be all right with that as the status quo for anything but the most affluent families.  But maybe that's just an unwarranted emotional reaction on my part.

We had to plan things so that the waiting period wouldn't be a big hit, too. I remember wishing you could just select a date to start getting benefits, but I guess the problem is that births are unpredictable and you might deliver earlier than expected or have to go on bedrest sooner than planned. 

I don't know what the solution is for sole practitioners either. Somehow women make it work. I know women who do trials and pump at lunch, or women whose husbands work nights or at home, stay with the baby in the daytime and bring it to her to nurse when they can. 

I don't have a problem with infant rooms. My second child was in an infant room from about 3-4 months old. The staff were unbelievably caring and loving and my child was well looked-after. I had to wrestle this child off the breast at 3 years old (!) and the child has always been tightly bonded to me and incredibly advanced for his age. We live near the centre and if I ever walk by with my children when they are in the yard, the staff still make a huge fuss over them. I know it can look a bit disconcerting to see such tiny babies separated from their parents, but it really does work out okay if it is a good centre. In fact, I have read studies that say that if you are going to use daycare, the worst time to start is 12-18 months, which is exactly when a lot of Canadian women start using daycare after their maternity leaves. This age can have very bad separation anxiety. It's better to start younger so that they are already attached to the caregiver at the critical age, or later when they are more secure. 

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I've seen that too --- I think we went at 10 months or so.  Seems like every two weeks there's another 18-month-old having a complete meltdown for their first week.

I've heard that there can be very good outcomes from starting them as infants; it's just in my experience most parents don't want to take that option but feel they have little choice financially.  Glad to hear that you had such a positive experience!  I'm half-inclined to ask where you went.  :)

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Is it not normal practice that when a lawyer has to travel for a client matter, all the travel expenses get billed to the client as disbursements?

I'm a bit puzzled by the posts suggesting that travel expenses come out of the firm's/parnership's pocket. 

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My kid did fine at 18 months, no meltdowns.  But she was at the UBC daycare which is probably the best day care provider in the province.  They had the whole process dialed in.

 

Edited by kurrika
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Three family members extended their leaves (all teachers) to 18 months and their kids did fine at the Montessori's they went to at that age. No meltdowns by the kids. Now the adults, that's another matter. ;)

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13 hours ago, kurrika said:

My kid did fine at 18 months, no meltdowns.  But she was at the UBC daycare which is probably the best day care provider in the province.  They had the whole process dialed in.

 

 

13 hours ago, erinl2 said:

Three family members extended their leaves (all teachers) to 18 months and their kids did fine at the Montessori's they went to at that age. No meltdowns by the kids. Now the adults, that's another matter. ;)

Oh, I didn't mean to say that all 18-month-olds will have meltdowns. It will depend on the child, the caregiver and the parents' preparation; every situation is different. I just meant that we often have an aversion to tiny infants being in childcare due to our own adult emotional responses and this is not necessarily based on the development and needs of the average infant. Every family has to decide what is best for them.

My kids went to Reggio Emilia pre-schools which are similar to Montessori in a lot of ways and it was great. 

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13 hours ago, Wenis said:

Is it not normal practice that when a lawyer has to travel for a client matter, all the travel expenses get billed to the client as disbursements?

I'm a bit puzzled by the posts suggesting that travel expenses come out of the firm's/parnership's pocket. 

It all depends on the arrangement with the client. But I think much of the discussion was referring to going to conferences/business development opportunities.

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On January 15, 2018 at 9:40 PM, Wenis said:

Is it not normal practice that when a lawyer has to travel for a client matter, all the travel expenses get billed to the client as disbursements?

I'm a bit puzzled by the posts suggesting that travel expenses come out of the firm's/parnership's pocket. 

What Jaggers said. Also, what applies to travel on the firm's tab applies doubly so when the client is paying - the client who will happily pay your million dollar invoice will lose their mind if they see an unreasonable disbursement for a few hundred bucks. 

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1 hour ago, maximumbob said:

What Jaggers said. Also, what applies to travel on the firm's tab applies doubly so when the client is paying - the client who will happily pay your million dollar invoice will lose their mind if they see an unreasonable disbursement for a few hundred bucks. 

And the issue isn't them just losing their mind, but there are also professional rules of conduct around this.. right?

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6 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

And the issue isn't them just losing their mind, but there are also professional rules of conduct around this.. right?

Well, sure- but the client isn't going to report you to the law society because you stayed in a $700 a night hotel when you could have found one for $400. They're just not going to pay it, they're going to call the billing partner and chew them out and point out that they can take the business somewhere else.  And, in practice, if you incurred such an expense the billing partner, if they had any sense, would write it off before billing, chew you out, and we're back to the "coming out of partners pockets" discussion again.  

Many big clients have very explicit guidelines as to what they will or will not pay for in terms of disbursements.   Even if your $700 a night hotel rate was reasonable (maybe it was a last minute trip to some hoity toity town during the film festival), if it's outside the guidelines they won't pay it without pre-authorization - any excess is just a cost of doing business for the firm.  

 

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