If you’re in the U.K. and are hiding your pregnancy to get a new job, you’ve got the right idea. A new survey says that one-third of managers would employ a man in his 20s or 30s over a woman the same age for fear they will take maternity leave. OMG babies, they ruin everything, don’t they?
The Guardian references a new study by a law firm called Slater & Gordon which polled 500 managers and found that not only are 20s and 30s women a shaky bet, but so are mothers. A fourth of the surveyed managers said they’d hire a man to circumvent maternity leave and child care issues because all that kid stuff is expensive. Also, the women return from maternity leave dumber, according to these managers.
Employment relations minister Jo Swinson said: "Pregnancy discrimination is illegal, immoral and completely unacceptable. There is no excuse for such attitudes from these employers, who frankly are dinosaurs. British business simply can't afford to lose out on half of the available talent pool.
As paternity leave gains more steam in Britain, it may change the stigma around “women of child-bearing age” to include dudes who might welcome a kid too. Watch out 20s and 30s guys, it's a jungle out there during your baby making years! Then who are these jerk managers going to hire?
Maybe we should all take notes from Germany and Norway, where maternity leave is between nine months and a full year, also known as the time it took to make the kid and probably the amount of time required to regain your sanity as a rested human being. But even that doesn’t always work out. Time magazine pointed out last September that mothers who do take maternity leave are often “mommy-tracked” and their pay and career trajectories can take a hit.
“Women who make full use of their maternity or parental leave entitlements receive, on average, lower wages in the years following their resumption of work than those who return before leave expires,” the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development concludes in a review of studies on the subject. The effect can continue for years after leave takers return to their jobs and “can permanently damage [mothers’] ability to achieve their labor market potential.”
So what’s the solution?
America has one of the most dismal maternity leave records in the world but women are still viewed as baby-making machines primed to jump ship during their gestation periods. What gives? Maybe adopting paternity leave and viewing children as little people that men and women care for is the way forward, but can America even handle that kind of truth?
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