‘Pregnant women are a burden’ Scots employers decades behind the law in attitudes to working mums

by pregnancy journalist

Scots employers are living in the dark ages when it comes to attitudes to recruiting women.

Statistics from the Equality and Human Rights Commission reveal many businesses are decades behind the law in the way they view working mums and pregnant women.

Almost a third of employers believe women who become pregnant and new mums in work are “generally less interested in career progression” when compared with other employees in their firm.

The research launches a drive to urge businesses to pledge to do all they can to end pregnancy and maternity-related discrimination.

About 28 per cent of private sector employers think it’s OK to ask women applying for jobs about their plans to have children.

More than half think a woman should have to reveal if she’s pregnant, while 45 per cent believe it’s fine to ask if a woman has young kids during the recruitment process.

There is also negativity at work about falling pregnant, with half of firms saying there’s some resentment among staff against women who are pregnant or on maternity leave.

And 39 per cent say women who have had more than one pregnancy in the same job can be a “burden”.

About 36 per cent of firms think should work for at least a year before deciding to have kids and 38 per cent claim to have seen at least one pregnant woman “take advantage” of their pregnancy.

The EHRC are urging employers to sign up to the initiative Working Forward to help end pregnancy and maternity discrimination.

Rebecca Hilsenrath says Scots employers are living in the dark ages

EHRC chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath said: “When it comes to the rights of pregnant woman and new mothers in the workplace, we are still living in the dark ages. We should all know it is against the law not to appoint a woman because she is pregnant or might become pregnant.

“Yet we also know women get asked questions about family planning in interviews.

“Employers need more support to better understand the basics of discrimination law and the rights of pregnant women and new mothers.”

Julie McCarthy, equality diversity & inclusion manager at Nationwide Building Society, said: “As a result of the Working Forward initiative, we have seen some incredibly positive results with regards to employees striking a better balance between their work and their personal lives.”

Ben Willmott, of the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said: “There are still too many employers who don’t understand employment law as it relates to pregnant women.

“Discrimination not only disadvantages people but also means employers are not attracting and retaining female talent.

Ursula Tavender, founder of Mumbelievable, consults with companies wanting to become more supportive of working parents.

She said: “We all know it’s in the interests of our economy to change the way business views working mums.

“This research shows we still have much work to do.”

This content was originally published here.

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