In a shocking indictment of how far women’s rights still have to go, one in seven bosses admit they wouldn’t hire a woman of child-bearing age. This is because of the fear that they might go on maternity leave.
Men (18%) are significantly more likely than women (10%) to think twice about hiring a woman in her 20s or 30s that might have children, despite maternity discrimination being illegal.
That rises to a quarter of businesses who “take motherhood into account” when making decisions about career progression, potentially hindering promotions and pay rises on nothing other than being a young woman who is able to have children.
This mirrors with a quarter of women who fell pregnant reporting that they experienced harassment and discrimination after telling their boss the good news.
How to stay on the right side of the equality law
Maternity law and maternity pay can seem straightforward, but even a small error can end up with a big legal case.
A pregnant woman can take up to 18 weeks as maternity leave and must be allowed to return to the same (or similar job). However, some examples of where problems can start, include:
- Singling out pregnant employees for redundancy.
- Mishandling requests for flexible working when returning from maternity leave (or assuming flexible working or job sharing would be wanted).
- Inappropriate comments about pregnancy that amount to harassment.
- Health and safety breaches against pregnant employees.
- Penalising a woman who is sick during pregnancy.
- Not paying maternity leave correctly.
- Basing recruitment decisions on a family situation.
Contact The HR Dept for advice
The best way to safeguard against maternity discrimination claims is to get in touch with The HR Dept. We can provide you with solid practical advice so that if or when an employee does become pregnant, you know what to do and how to deal with it.