Making pregnancy and productivity workOn 2 Sep 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article I’m one of the lucky ones. Having two children while juggling a demandingfull-time job and career was a positive experience. But for many other women, it has been a guilt-ridden, unhappy and sometimesdevastating period of their lives. The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC)receives more complaints about pregnancy and maternity than any other type ofsex discrimination issue, even beating equal pay and sexual harassment.This is hardly surprising given the plethora of legislation in this area andmuch wider public awareness of rights in the workplace. So the enquiry intopregnancy discrimination, aptly announced in ‘work-life balance week’, is longoverdue, and must be welcomed. Although there is a more regulated social framework for women to balancefamily and work duties, many of these measures have yet to take practicaleffect. Unfair treatment of working pregnant women is widespread across alloccupations and sectors. And it isn’t just the small employers who are guiltyof victimisation. Problems encountered include dismissal, lack of promotion,change of salary terms, unfounded criticism, downgraded appraisals, non-paymentof bonuses and disciplinary action for performance. Recent research among 1,200adults reveals 21 per cent know someone who suffered work difficulties becauseof their pregnancy. Many problems originate in poor practice at line manager level, and thisreview is likely to reinforce the need for improvements in people managementskills. Women make up a growing percentage of the workforce and represent a talentedand versatile resource. But working mums are not as motivated and engaged asthey could be as some feel poorly treated. Evidence shows that nearly eight in10 working mums would quit their full-time jobs tomorrow if given the chance.This says a good deal about the lethargy of employers in responding flexibly totheir needs. Individuals that have suffered discrimination and employers will be heavilyinvolved in the EOC’s 18-month investigation. Employers’ knowledge of theirlegal responsibilities will be assessed and examples of good practiceidentified. If you work in an organisation that has acted in a discriminatory waytowards pregnant women, you could be asked to attend an interview with the EOCto explore the circumstances and outcome. Whatever your experiences, this is anopportunity to influence the review and help wipe out injustices for workingwomen.By Jane King Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.