The Meeting Place

Is Maternity Discrimination Pushing Women Out of Work?

Recent studies have revealed that 3 in 4 working mothers have experienced a degree of some form of discrimination within their professional lives, half of whom have alleviated that have claimed that maternity leave has had a negative impact on their career.

The vast majority of bosses believe that women should declare themselves to be pregnant when they begin a new position, as this could impact the future of the company and could cause complications down the line, and a quarter of all employers asked, believe it to be a fair question to ask if the employee is planning on having children.

Although many believe this to be a fair question, it remains the case that many employers allow the answers to determine their potential employees future within the company, and can even in some cases prevent a person from getting the job.

A report from the ECHR (European Convention of Human Rights) has stated that the attitude towards people returning from maternity leave has significantly deteriorated over the passing year. This alone has shown that nearly 55,000 women were being forced out of their jobs each year after maternity leave.

There are many tales and horror stories that mothers have had to face in the workplace. For instance, a woman returned back to work after 12 months, after giving birth to twins, and was told by her female employee that mothers who worked and had children under the age of 5 were selfish.

One of the most shocking things about these ongoings, is the fact that mothers are feeling less and less empowered to stand up against their employers and express their rights as a working mother. The burden of such legislation, alongside the cultural, professional and emotional pressures that are forced upon women, mean that many are remaining silent, and subsequently allowing themselves to be treated in a certain way.

Not all discrimination in the workplace is overt, many remarks and actions are often subtle and underhanded. Mothers, or soon to be mothers, do in fact have a level of heightened protection in the workplace, which begins when they fall pregnant, and then ends when maternity leave is over.

(Hayley Powell is a maternity discrimination specialist in Manchester, who aims to inform and empower women to know their rights as a mother, or soon-to-be mother.)



a new type of ambulance chaser 

Looking at it from a bosses point of view, if you had choice of employing someone who, if you look after them will work continuosly for the next five years and add value to the company, or someone who may work for two years, have months off and the come back and demand time of at inconvienient times without notice, who would you choose?

Demands for guaranteed time off to have children has worked against the working woman, it is wrong but it seems to be a sad fact.  I wonder how many young women are just not getting a start because of this concern by empoloyers.

As a self confessed socialist, even I would think twice about employing a young woman if continuiuty of service was essential to the success of my business and the welfare of the other workers that I employed.

I will now stand back and wait for the wave of moral indignation.

Australian Government gives a new mother working for them 6 months off full pay 12months off half pay.

Yes - it's bloody ridiculous don't you think 

everybody should get that benefit men included 

Not if you are in business employing people.

There are too many costs now for the employer.


Women have choices, they can go out to work, or they can stay home and look after the children which they CHOSE to have, they're not entitled to anything from private businesses. (imo)

Guvmt should put encourage longtime unemployed back into work as well as support/encourage Mums to properly care for their children at home

I think you guys are answering an advert.

Btw Somebody,  great avatar!

I just feel as though it would be wrong to pass up an opportunity to work with a woman because she is pregnant, it is in my eyes a form of discrimination. I feel as with any position, somebody should be able to work for the minimum probation period of the company, it would be wrong for somebody to assume that they could accpept a job offer, heavily pregnant, work under the minimum probationary period and then get paid maternity leave.

As for the idea of having somebody who will work for five years and add value to the company, as opposed to two, how can you be sure that they person who is guaranteed to work for five years won't find a better opportunity, or move away? I feel that it's wrong to assume that just because a woman is planning to have children at some point in her life, that she will add less value to the company, than somebody who is not. I feel that measuring somebody by their own work standards, ethics, experience, as opposed to their aspirations is a better way to predict the success they will bring to a company. 


no problem with what you say Hayley

As long as they performance is not impacted, then there should be no issue.

But why can't men take the maternity leave and not get penalized as well


Because you dont feel the pain of childbirth.

What a stupid question.


Aaaah - so the leave is to alleviate the pain?

Thanks somebody - youre certainly nobody's fool

you gonna part the seas or walk on water and come thump me ?

Where's Brocky???

Don't tell me he's leaving you to do all the work :(


Hayis, it is not about having a guarantee that a person will work for your company for five years, it is about the employer having at least some control.  If an employee is good enough to apply for and get a better job elseware that employee is worth sitting down with and renegotiating their salary package, maybe they are not, in which case wish them luck and send them on their way.

If an employee decides to take maternity leave, then that is it, the employer is required to let them go and keep a job for them when they are ready to return, two very different scenerios.  I did make it quite clear that I was talking about positions where continuity of service was essential to the success of the business, maybe you missed that bit.

 The point is not about what is right or wrong, I believe the question was, "Is maternity discrimination pushing women out of work?" It is quite simple, we have a very competative job market, I regard labour as a commodity, you agree to sell your time to an employer for a certain dollar value based on hours worked and a certain set of conditions.  If you impose a set of conditions on the employer that makes you more expensive or harder to manage than someone else with similar skills and potential, why would the employer choose you?  In any case the choice should be in the hands of the person whose risking capital in the business and possibly the workers who will be told that they can't have holidays at Christmas because so and so has children and should be allowed to spend it with them, or the one who has relieved in a position for someone on maternity leave did a better job and is told so and so is back now move to the back of the bus, or even the employee who is constantly required to take up the slack because so and so has a child related emergency.  It seems to me that a lot of people are inconvenienced for a few.  I would not like to imagine what it would be like to have to manage a business with half of its employees at child bearing age not knowing when one or all may decide to start a family.

Every pancake has two sides. 

Because it would not alter or solve the problem Raphael.  I think that the idea of women being able to take leave to look after their babies is good, but it impacts on those around them, and that is a problem.

The question was not do you agree with maternity leave, it was do do you think it is working against young women workers.  The evidence seems to show that it does. 

Discriminating against pregnant women may be illegal, but it's happening in the most devious ways and having a serious impact on women and their careers. I appreciate the limited resources of small business and while I understand the financial bottom line (being in business myself), I really don’t accept  that these explanations justify treating pregnant women in a discriminatory way.

We can’t afford for women not to participate as workers in the economy. Times have changed as we know, and these days to afford owning a house, two partners usually have to work.

Women do have the heavier load in society vis-à-vis, they are the child bearers, they work outside of the home and carry most of the work at home. For these reasons society must make allowances.

Women do have the heavier load in society vis-à-vis, they are the child bearers, they work outside of the home and carry most of the work at home. For these reasons society must make allowances.


Get the violins out

What century are you living in ?

Why did you have to say that to the lady.

You are very rude person with little manners.

What century are you living in?

With a name like Raphael I think that you are a male who spends a lot of time on here instead of helping his wife.



Wasnt being rude. Just telling Kiah that he has old fashioned ideas steeped in ealy 20th century 

Why do you think Kiah is a lady

Its a unisex name . I assumed it was a he

FYI - I do all everything at home, some of which I outsource for a fee 

Thank you Somebody. I didn't want to waste my time answering his rudeness and I appreciate your comments.

For your information Raphael, Kiah is an Aboriginal name meaning "The Beautiful Place." I have never heard of it being unisex.

I will add, I intend to contribute to this forum and already, I have made a number of reports about you and Brocky. I shall continue to do so if you try to insult me in any way.




Hi there Kiah

You may report me that;s your chioce. But do it for a valid reason and be consistent. Report Reagen and Ben too for harassing me 

Kiah - Boy's name meaning, origin, and popularity

I stand by my original post that your views on the role of women is antiquated and steeped in the last century 

Kiah, ignore the little person. Surprising his littler mate hasn't come in to back him up.

If you have a problem with me Ravvy, you are very welcome to report me. 

dont have a problem at all with an inconsequential like you Reekan

Hayley - Question for you

If a male employee insists that as part of his employment contract that he should have 3 months paid leave every few years and take time off every so often to look after "personal business", should he be able to claim discrimination if his colleague who does not have such a contract experiences faster promotons and pay rises