There should be a 9-month qualifying period for mat/pat leave.

(172 Posts)
garlicgrump Mon 20-May-13 17:14:44

A few recent threads have made me think about this. I think it's hopelessly wrong that a woman can get a new job while knowing she's pregnant, then bugger off for a year's mat leave. AIBU?

Lovelygoldboots Mon 20-May-13 18:27:31

Pesky women getting pregnant, accepting job offers only to find there is no affordable childcare and her work doesnt pay. When will we stop shooting ourselves in the foot? A pregnant woman has a right to accept a job. You are being unreasonable.

ILiveInAPineappleCoveredInSnow Mon 20-May-13 18:28:06

I applied for a promoted post at my place of work, where I have been for the last 3 years. I got the post and took it knowing that I was pregnant. I love working here, but had I not got this post, I'd have been looking elsewhere after ML. I think in te grand scheme of things, they've had 3 years solid hard work out of me, I will be off for 6-9 months, but then they will get at least another 3 years from me before I look for my next step up. Not a bad deal for them I feel.

Iggi101 Mon 20-May-13 18:44:11

YABU - for lots of reasons, but here's mine - I took a new job whilst pg, not wanting to turn it down in case I had (another) miscarriage and then would have neither job nor baby.

needaholidaynow Mon 20-May-13 18:44:18

YABVVU.

Having considered an abortion due to what others thought of me when I started my new job pregnant, people just like you, it makes me even more glad that I went ahead and had my baby. It makes me so sad and angry every time I think about how I felt back then due to worrying too much about other people in this world and their thoughts about me, but I am also so unbelievably relieved when I look at my baby boy that their ignorant views didn't cause me to make a decision that I really did not want to make.

I started my job when I was 4 months pregnant and left for mat leave when I was 8 months pregnant.

garlicgrump Mon 20-May-13 18:46:40

Tolliver, you are familiar with my magic wand, I see! Yes: I want family-friendly working practices, compulsory 50/50 parental leave, required flexibility for both sexes, boardroom quotas, the lot! What I'm not too keen on is employers having to keep a post open for a little-tried employee who may or may not come back to it.

Boots, a pregnant woman has a right to accept a job, of course she does. But I wish she didn't have the right to have that job guaranteed for almost 2 years, one year of which she may plan to be absent.

Pineapple, my instinct is to say it's different for a promotion - even if it is a different job - because you already have an ongoing, mutually beneficial contract with the employer.

garlicgrump Mon 20-May-13 18:57:35

But, holiday, why did your employer owe you a job?

I am NOT trying to say pregnancy is an illness, before anybody has a go at me, but, if you developed a serious health condition, your employer wouldn't be obliged to hold your job open for you while you spent a year recovering - no matter how long you'd worked there. They sure as hell wouldn't keep you employed, with a long-term sickness, if you'd only been there a few months.

But you're singling out the keeping a post open for a woman as the thing you've started a thread about (apologies if you've also started threads about the other issues). So do you think that that's the single biggest part of the problem? If not, why is it the one that you chose to describe as hopelessly wrong, over and above all the other bits of the system that mean that a woman who gets pregnant is massively disadvantaged in career and financial terms even though (the bit you want to start by abolishing) she gets to have her job kept open for her.

What other people said.

Most people don't move jobs knowing they are pregnant unless they think the new job definitely suits them. And most people don't leave jobs that definitely suit them if they have any choice in the matter.

If you are taking a year's maternity leave from a long term job, it matters not a jot whether that's after six months or six years, surely? It's a year out of maybe ten years - does it matter which year?

The minimal maternity pay you get if you do this is definitely not worth jacking in a good job for, of course.

That said, I left a shitty job for a nicer job and fell pregnant quickly afterwards, resigning at the end of maternity leave. Although it worked out nicely for everyone in the end (I was good at said new job, they were nice to me, for reasons outside everyone's control there wouldn't have been enough work for me to do if I had gone back, etc) I kind of wished I'd stayed at the old job if only so I could screw them over instead of the nice ones grin

garlicgrump Mon 20-May-13 19:03:39

I'm often discussing the other issues.

I think this particular provision makes it harder to sell the many other, more important, changes. It feels - to me - like an unfair advantage for women of childbearing age. That is going to help entrench prejudice, I suspect.

As I said, I only recently realised the provision was so generous. I wanted to find out why other MNers feel justifiably entitled to it. None the wiser so far ...

garlicgrump Mon 20-May-13 19:08:38

Granted you said "screw them over" in jest, Horry, but the knowledge is there that that's what you would have been doing!

It's a year out of maybe ten years - does it matter which year? - Yes, it does, imo. If you've only been there a few months, it's unlikely you'll be so well integrated to the job that you can effectively sort out your own mat cover, know which issues to deal with before you go and so forth. Also, when you have an ongoing beneficial relationship with your employer, you are more likely to trust each other.

Lovelygoldboots Mon 20-May-13 19:09:54

Maybe if you widened the discussion to ask the question Why dont women return to work? Your frame of reference is very narrow and in your last post you have used the word entitled in reference to mat pay.

MrsKoala Mon 20-May-13 19:09:57

I had a broken arm in dec 2011, i had been trying for a baby so before xray they did a test, it was negative. I got a job interview in dec (after xray) and got told i got the job on 20th dec. DH and i decided to put ttc on hold. Period due xmas day. Boxing day i did a test and i was pregnant. Started work on 3rd Jan knowing i was pregnant, felt shit, and not entitled to any SMP. I have taken the whole year mat leave and only had MA.

I feel entitled to it because i am legally entitled to it.

Ehhn Mon 20-May-13 19:10:03

I think the issue is probably that the system is too much dependent on women doing the right thing and whilst 99% of women do so, such as coming back and giving a number of years of good service, there are a minority who exploit the system or change their mind and give the rest a bad name. E.g. If changing mind... I think if you reckon you will be tempted to be sahm and you have just started a new job, you should test your feelings and resign shortly after birth rather than maximise the time off/cash. But the problem is temptation of money can override moral choices...

EasilyBored Mon 20-May-13 19:11:08

It's not an unfair advantage, it's a way of levelling the playing field. Women get their jobs held open for them because they are the ones who get pregnant and have babies. How about we give it up and be more like the Americans, who get a lovely 8 weeks off (with no requirement that they be paid) after having a baby.

What's a more important issue than ensuring women are not discriminated against because of their sex? Please do share - I'm all ears.

EasilyBored Mon 20-May-13 19:13:37

And employers can claim back most of the SMP anyway, so aside from recruitment costs it's not costing them a huge amount extra. It can actually be cheaper - iirc my mat cover was paid less than me as they had less experience in that role.

wigglesrock Mon 20-May-13 19:14:23

I did it. I went for an interview the day I found out I was pregnant and started 3 weeks later. The job I had been doing was finishing, I needed to work. I qualified for Maternity Allowance, took 8 months off and went back to the job. I'm not sure what else I could have done?

MrsKoala Mon 20-May-13 19:20:13

Ehhn - i'm not sure i understand about the temptation of cash - what cash would i be getting if i don't get any mat pay?

needaholidaynow Mon 20-May-13 19:56:27

garlic I was employed because my employer thought I was capable of doing the job- and I proved them right for 4 months! When I return i will do the same work again as i did before i left. Pregnant or not, it doesn't affect my ability. All it means is that I won't be there for a number of months, but could may well be there for the next 20 years!

That is why they "owe" me a job. Because I somehow impressed them.

Ehhn Mon 20-May-13 20:18:58

Mrs koala my oh's cousin started a new job, just made it to qualifying for mat leave then took the mat pay knowing full well she had would not go back to work. Didn't tell the employer until just before she was due to go back so they didn't have any contingency plan in place as they had covered the full mat leave with a contract worker to cover as they expected oh cousin back. The temp/contract worker had already got another job so they went into recruitment drive unexpectedly - this was not a big company and it left them short staffed. I know govt covers some of the pay but it was quite a blow to the company, as it meant their original recruitment drive had been a waste of time/money.

As I said in previous post, it is a tiny number of unethical people who spoil it for others. this is one incident and I only know of one other similar story, compared to many stories of women busting their asses to make working & small babies happen.

mumofweeboys Mon 20-May-13 20:30:35

Not sure about fair or unfair but can really suck for other people. We were/are horribly short staffed - working under immense pressure, work stacking up ect when management finally decided to recruit another bod. Fantastic we thought, light at end of tunnel, make situation 10x better, work actually would be enjoyable again. Problem was the person they chose was 4 months pregnant. She couldnt start for 2 months, then went on maternity leave a month and half later. Work wouldnt hire any one else (very skilled job) so we were left in a hole for another year.

Dont really blame her but she wasnt popular.

slightlysoupstained Mon 20-May-13 20:55:31

It doesn't seem to stop employers sacking 30,000+ women a year though does it?

TBH, I think the main problem is that it doesn't apply to men. DP and I had planned to share leave, but discovered that because he'd started a new role after I was already pregnant, he wasn't eligible for anything at all. (Fortunately his new employers were happy to offer 2 weeks unpaid leave, but they could have refused.)

www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/maternity-and-paternity-rights/
The above is worth a read.

maddening Mon 20-May-13 21:00:54

ministering - surely you would be in that position whoever had left for mat leave if your employer does not provide cover for those on mat leave - blame your employer not your colleague.

I take it when you had your wee boys that you left your colleagues in the shit also - so why does it matter how long you worked there?

maddening Mon 20-May-13 21:02:02

ministering = mumofweeboys

MrsKoala Mon 20-May-13 21:03:56

Ehhn - i think everyone qualifies for mat leave regardless of when you start. i also think you have to have worked for longer than the pregnancy to get pay, which means you wouldn't be able to be pregnant when you started, you would have to get pregnant after a couple of months of working. This is why i got no pay from the company i work for as i got pregnant 2 weeks before i started.

i was planning to go back so took the mat leave but circumstances mean it would be impossible. So they had a colleague from another dept cover me 'temporarily'. They will now have to advertise it as permanent.

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