I recently discovered that my workplace has ‘wedding leave’: apparently you can get up to three days off—with pay. What the fuck is going on here?
I mean, what’s a wedding? It’s just a big party. Should employees be allowed to have personal parties on company time? I think not.
Oh, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime party. Well, no, there’s a fifty-fifty chance the marriage will end in divorce, and the happy couple may well try again (presumably after shouting ‘Switch!’). But even allowing one party on company time is wrong—unless, of course, every employee is so entitled, not just those who choose to marry. Remember, it is a choice: getting married is not like getting sick. (Well, actually, it is, but that’s a separate point.)
So what’s so special about this choice? Getting married is just entering into a legal contract. Why isn’t everyone who enters into a legal contract allowed three days off to celebrate? Why is this legal contract cause for exception?
Perhaps because of what else getting married is: it’s a religious ceremony. Well, surely mixing religion and the workplace is a very contentious thing. Can I have three days off to celebrate my religious ceremony, the It’s-Time-To-Worship-The-Great-Big-Purple-Platypus-In-The-Sky Weekend?
It seems to me that wedding leave is discrimination pure and simple—if not on religious grounds, then on grounds of marital status-to-be.
But perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised. Our society has lots of customs that reward those who marry. Both of my siblings got married and therefore had their apartments half-furnished with everything from blenders to stereos before they even moved in. I, on the other hand, have had to buy every single thing I wanted (and I still don’t have a blender). Being married also means that your best friend can get medical benefits through your employer (gee, that’s way better than a blender)—I’m referring, of course, to spousal benefits, another policy that just doesn’t stand up to contemporary scrutiny (based, as it is, on the single breadwinner, half-the-nation’s-adults-are-and/or-need-to-be-‘kept’, premise). Wedding leave is just one more perk for maintaining the status quo (“Settle down, get a job, find a girl, you can marry…” Cat Stevens).
Now I haven’t actually asked about wedding leave, and the fact that most weddings can and do happen on Saturday (one day, and not usually a work day) suggests that I could be mistaken: maybe the three days’ leave with pay is intended for the honeymoon. Oh, so only if I sanctify my sexual-domestic partnership with state permission or superstitious ritual am I allowed to take a holiday with my love on company time? What the fuck—