Should I say in my job application that I’m pregnant?

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 - career management, career transition, Job Application, Job Application Rejection, job hunting, Legal, recruitment


Pregnant Job Seeker

Primera sesión strobist
Creative Commons License photo credit: TheOm3ga

Ann asks: I’m 17 weeks pregnant, and a fortnight ago I got made redundant. My partner and I are living together and he does work, but his wage barely covers our monthly bills without even thinking of starting to buy things for baby. I’m desperately looking for another job, anything – permanent, temporary, full time or part time – just to bulk up some money coming in. After handing out a few CV’s I’ve heard NOTHING back from anyone. I was honest, informing potential employers about my pregnancy: should I not do this? I don’t want to keep it quiet from anyone as:

  • I have a bump that is rather large
  • All my midwife appointments are on a weekday basis, and I would need time off to go to them (granted there are only every few weeks)
  • It’s obviously going to come out that I’m pregnant during the basic 12week contract trial

A question:

  1. If they found out about the pregnancy, could they then get rid of me for not telling them?

I don’t know what to do for the best. I know employers are not suppose to discriminate against pregnant women, but there will be no evidence of this, but my partner and I think they all still will, especially with this recession, employers are not going to want to employ someone who is going to be going on maternity leave in a months of starting. I really really want to get back into work!!!

In answer:

Some simple steps here:

  1. Legally, you don’t have to tell a prospective employer. But, if you do – much as the case with a disability – then they can’t use that as a reason for rejecting you at interview/once on trial
  2. Even if you don’t tell them, once you are employed, they can’t get rid of you in the trial period for the reason that you are pregnant

However, lets be clear here. Once they notice you are pregnant, which employer is going to not find almost any reason not to employ you? Unless you have the only skill in a 1000mile radius, then the fact that an employer legally in the UK now has to hold a position open for almost two years means most will run a mile from a pregnant women – particularly small employers.

Plus, thanks to “no win, no fee,” employers insurance liability on pregnant women is horrendous. You lose the baby, blame it on work, and the claim could run to millions. This issue or costs does not effect women in employment who get pregnant, but employers taking on pregnant women.

I think you have to be realistic here on two counts:

  1. Do you know what you will feel like post birth? You might want/need to work now, but afterwards I have seen many change their minds the other way
  2. Any career will be secondary to your child and childcare. You will want and need something flexible

I think you should focus on getting the driving license, and then looking at getting flexible work which you can dip-in to as required until you have settled your child, yourself and your child care into a routine. Most women up until a child is of school age need some form of flexible working, and even if they have that sorted most employers will want to be assured that it is stable: much as thought again, that is not a legal option for not-hiring.

Employers need to become more flexible around child care for existing employees they have invested in, and there probably needs to be more legislation around this. But expecting to be able to easily find work when pregnant, let alone in a recession, and expecting the employer to pick up the costs – you will probably be disappointed. You need to get transportable skills, and get creative in finding more flexible work.

Good Luck!

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One Response to “Should I say in my job application that I’m pregnant?”

  1. Seti Says:

    I don’t know about that. I’m not sure I agree with your ideas. I’ll just agree to disagree. Thanks for the post.

    ===RESPONSE===
    You view this from the pregnant women’s perspective, while I view this from the employers perspective. Harriet Harman has proposed legislation to force UK employers to view pregnant job applicants fairly. But unless the insurance market is forced to do the same then the current result – pregnant women will not get employed, due to insurance costs – will remain. A quote for my own small business of 10 people would have quadrupled the insurance costs for employing a single already pregnant woman

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