Every career oriented woman has had the same thought or fear when they find out they’re pregnant: how will this affect my job?
Finding out that you’re expecting should be a joyful time. It should be full of exciting thoughts about the new life you’re creating, what names are on or off the table, what color you hope their eyes are. What shouldn’t be on your mind is losing your job or having your hours cut. The Guardian released an article, sourcing the UK website, Citizens Advice. They say that not only are women facing discrimination, there has actually been an increase in these sort of situations.
“Citizens Advice warned of a growing problem of new and expectant mothers facing discrimination. The charity said there had been a 25% increase in people seeking workplace advice on pregnancy and maternity issues in the past year, with more than 22,000 visits to its website.”
Citizens Advice is a website created for people to have a resource when it comes to needing advice about a range of issues. Need help budgeting? Have a legal question about your rights or responsibilities? This website has all of that and more to aid people. They reported some hard to swallow issues their users have experienced:
“One woman turned to Citizens Advice for help when her employer cut her weekly hours by more than half after she told them she was pregnant. Her boss claimed there was not enough work available to keep her on her previous hours, despite taking on new staff at the same time. Another woman contacted her employer to find out why she had not received any maternity pay, to be told they had ended her contract while she was on maternity leave.”
You may be wondering how it is that companies are getting away with this. It’s illegal isn’t it? Why aren’t more of these companies being hunted down and brought to justice? It’s sad to say that many are sneaky in the way they go about it. On top of that, a lot of women don’t speak up and accuse their employers. Luckily, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has had enough. Even though they have already called for numerous reforms to give women who are pregnant more protection at work, they’re still working on bringing awareness of this issue.
“The report is the latest suggestion that pregnancy discrimination, which is illegal, is on the rise. In March, government-commissioned research warned that three-quarters of pregnant women and new mothers experience discrimination at work and one in nine lose their job as a result. The study by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (ECHR) suggests that discrimination has risen significantly since 2005, when 45% of women said they had experienced such discrimination.
Unfortunately, this issue is something I am all too familiar with. I have been trying desperately to find a part time job and have decided to be forthcoming about my pregnancy. Why hide it, who needs that stress, right? I have a lot to offer as an employee, surely companies will recognize that. I’ve had several messages exclaiming what a good fit I’ll be for the position and to tell them a bit more about myself. That’s the point I’ll usually lay it on them that I’m expecting which is also the point in which I stop hearing from them.
We have published an article detailing your rights as a pregnant woman previously here on The Methodology Blog. Check that out for more information on how to protect yourself and learn what your rights are.