Most UK employers believe a woman should have to disclose if she is pregnant during a recruitment process, according to “depressing” statistics from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The EHRC warned that many businesses were “decades behind the law” after a YouGov survey of 1,106 senior decision-makers revealed that a third of those working for private companies thought it was reasonable to ask a woman about her plans to have children in the future during the recruitment process, 59% said she should have to disclose if she is pregnant and almost half (46%) said it was also reasonable to ask a woman if she had small children.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, the chief executive of the EHRC, said the findings were “depressing” and accused many British companies of “living in the dark ages”.

“We should all know very well that it is against the law not to appoint a woman because she is pregnant or might become pregnant. Yet we also know women routinely get asked questions around family planning in interviews,” she said. “It’s clear that many employers need more support to better understand the basics of discrimination law and the rights of pregnant women and new mothers.”

EHRC is talking about what the law is. The companies are talking about what they think the law should be. These are not the same thing.

As the Senior Lecturer keeps telling us about tax…..

15 thoughts on “Wibble”

  1. Perhaps they should get somebody that actually has some real-world business experience on the commission…?

    They’d understand what a complete fucking nightmare it is for a small business to have to keep a job open for a years when somebody fucks off on maternity leave shortly after joining them.

  2. The biggest problem with employing someone that is pregnant is that as soon as they are a trained and competent member of staff they take a year out so you have to employ someone else and train them… It is the cost and disruption of training people to competency that is the problem not the fact that they are pregnant per se.

    Same as doing job share on full time jobs – fine if they are jobs that are easy to train for but if they are complex jobs that need to be seen through by one person then it does become an issue…

  3. Rebecca Hilsenrath, the chief executive of the EHRC, said the findings were “depressing” and accused many British companies of “living in the dark ages”.

    If only that were so. We could dunk Rebecca Hilsenrath in the village pond on the end of a stool, for a start.

  4. At my last company we had a woman join, she announced a few weeks in that she was x months pregnant and a couple of weeks after she was signed off with complications, about a year and a half later she came back for a few weeks before being signed off for new pregnancy and complications, we saw her about 2 years after that for a few weeks again ; before the whole office was made redundant.

    It was obvious that the woman was intentionally gaming the system. I’ve no idea what proportion of costs was borne by the state-i’d guess most of them-but still an absolute pain in the ass.

  5. When I interview people, I will pretty much always ask them what they want from their career, where they see themselves in x years time, etc.
    If someone answers that they want to take a couple of years off to travel within the next year or so, then the chances of me wanting to hire them fall considerably.
    But, I can ask about that sort of thing in an interview, so I don’t worry that every 20-something I talk to might be about to head off to discover the world.
    But, when it comes to family plans, you cannot ask. Which means that most managers will assume some kind of risk that the person they are interviewing will want some kind of parental leave. The obvious consequence of this is that people who absolutely do not want children will be treated the same as someone who will want the time off.
    When it comes to wanting time off for children, this is a nightmare for small companies. Finding (and training) internal cover for an unknown amount of time for a company of 1000+ employees is not too hard. For a small company of 10 people, it is a huge resource drain (management time, training time, etc.) It is not really about the cost of paying someone who is not there.
    I work in finance and have always preferred to manage mixed teams. I think the overall dynamic is better. It has never been easy to get this (as there are always way more male than female applicants). Frankly, I doubt I can afford to hire anyone that will want time off for kids in the near-term. And if a company cannot ask this, the completely obvious unintended consequence is that all who might be in the bracket are penalised.

  6. @BiC,
    re: “… you have to employ someone else and train them”

    Well, not if you are running an ex-Poly, in which case you just find some bloke who lectures the same subject and fuck him about by doubling his workload.

    To be (more than) fair, where are you going to find someone who wants the temporary job and has the skills and experience, can be recruited at the drop of a hat in September to start work straight away, and is prepared to find another job at the end of the summer term (when nobody is recruiting to cover the Summer Vac)? (I am talking about STEM subjects here – unemployable cnuts are 10 a penny ).

    In that “1000+ employees” ex-Poly, there is usually only one person with the specialist knowledge, and if that person isn’t a man, the students will get zero coverage in that subject, because the other specialist will already be arriving late and going early, taking lots of sickies, and telling everyone how hard done by they are as a woman/mother/etc.

    Please don’t ask me how I know this …

  7. Solid Steve 2: Squirrels of The Patriots

    I’m very keen on hiring women, and the more lovely and boobsome they are, the better.

  8. Right, employers don’t wake up wanting to make all women fail; they simply want to locate good employees. Employers SHOULD discriminate against pregnant applicants, as the prima facie indication is that the job is not their first priority. Until they can, their questions will have to dance around the edges to satisfy some notion of voting-bloc fairness codified by a hack…whose pay arrives unconditionally every fortnight and never has to worry about no customers coming through the door…or no one to service them because they’re out on leave.

  9. it is against the law not to appoint a woman because she is pregnant

    Even if she’s about to pop? Doesn’t “capability” (simply to carry out the role) cover that?

    Ignoring the reality of said interview obviously (there must be a you-tube clip somewhere), just focusing on the law.

  10. The situation is not funny when it costs a fortune to train female doctors who after a few years , get up the duff and then either decide to be a housewife–fine but not after a fortune has been spent on them–or come back p/t and won’t do difficult hours etc.

  11. Businesses are forced by government to pay for feminists’ pretend world.

    The problem is government has too much power. It’s none of their business who gets hired or what they are paid.

  12. Bloke in North Dorset

    I’ve only come across two cases of women going on maternity leave, and advantage and in both cases they claimed they wanted to come back to full time employment. They then came back and have to the minimum time resigned, they didn’t even want to do part time.

    If we’d known from the off it would have saved in lot of money finding and training temps, who then left and weren’t available when the women resigned.

    There may be a case for paying women who had admit they’ve no intention of coming back a bounty that is a bit more than they would get in maternity leave pay.

  13. If I sign a contract for a multi-year job, I have to stick to it, but if a young woman does, she has a get-out clause.

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