14 wks pregnant and going for a job interview

(211 Posts)
aichi Sun 15-Sep-13 12:05:04

I'm 14 wks pregnant and I've been looking for a job for awhile.
I didnt know I was pregnant when I applied for the job - back in June. (They took ages to shortlist for the interview!)

Its the job that I'd like to do and its part time which would suit me. They're looking for a few different posts, permanent and temporary positions. Ideally I would like a permanent post so I can come back to the post after I have the baby.

Am I being unreasonable to go for a job interview at this stage of my pregnancy? I started to show my bump (well for me it looks big already...my second baby) and worried how to cover my bump at the interview...
I also feel sad to feel that I have to hide my bump when I should be happy with my pregnancy..

Pendeen Fri 20-Sep-13 23:47:00

From the debate raging here, this is a very difficult question.

To me, the question comes down to one of honesty and fairness.

The OP states: "Am I being unreasonable to go for a job interview at this stage of my pregnancy"

The answer to that is of course "no!" Go for the interview.

But then she says: "I also feel sad to feel that I have to hide my bump"

This then is the crux of the debate.
,
I am now torn between my natural empathy as a mother and my worries as a potential employer.

Indeed a very difficult AIBU.

ModeratelyObvious Wed 18-Sep-13 23:20:48

StuntGirl has nailed it.

OwlinaTree Wed 18-Sep-13 21:26:19

Yes headsdown it's sh*t. I'm not saying it's right. What I am saying is I sympathise with what is a difficult situation, what's so wrong with that?

StuntGirl Wed 18-Sep-13 17:23:20

At the end of the day if we go down the route of women not being able to apply for jobs knowing they're pregnant you're relegating them to second class citizens unable to access the same levels of employment as men.

And that's discrimination.

So we don't do it.

HeadsDownThumbsUp Wed 18-Sep-13 16:15:00

"I feel for you Fitzgerald, not an easy situation."

"I think the deceit is a factor. If you can work in that atmosphere, that's OK, but not all can. I couldn't."

Women in this position don't need your feelings. They need money. Most of us work for a reason. This thread has been filled with discussion about 'being the right person for the job' and finding the job of my dreams.... Realistically, most of us work because we have to, in jobs we may or may not care for. And most employers are looking for an adequately qualified person, not a super stellar dream candidate.

Pregnant people need to work and get paid, just like everyone else.

And tolerating a bad atmosphere at work is a hell of a lot easier than bringing up a baby on benefits.

bbcessex Wed 18-Sep-13 10:40:33

fitzgerald

If you want to be certain of not being discriminated against then I would withold info of your pregnancy. As and when you get the offer (in writing) you can inform them then, and as you say, if you plan a quick return to work, you will build up credibility and all will be fine

I'm not knocking you for doing it; if I had to get income coming in and was in your situation then I'd do the same, especially if it was a specialist role where I was particularly qualified and I planned on taking as little time off as possible.

FitzgeraldProtagonist Wed 18-Sep-13 09:03:19

Third child. Lost my last job when I was 9 weeks pg. it was well paid, those reserves are running out. I have quite a bump (3rd child!) but could prob conceal under loose black frock. I went back to work 6 weeks after DS1. Good in some ways not in others (good for my sanity, but DS found hard I think, but was necessary).

May just have to come clean as when I go for a job I assume it is for the duration. Looks like unemployment beckons, with no access to benefits from next month, an NRP who has stopped paying CM and a partner who will be expected to financially support my two DC. Single parent to graspy gold digger. I just wanted to pay my way.

I think most employers would be pretty pissed off tbh. It maddens and saddens me this is the case.

MrsLion Wed 18-Sep-13 08:27:22

I think it's the reality too- and in hindsight I was very naive in thinking they would be ok with it.

I am very surprised by the stories on here of similar situations that worked out well for the pregnant woman.

Welshwabbit Wed 18-Sep-13 08:18:20

Fitzgerald, if you really need a job now, then I think you are less likely to get one if you mention the pregnancy (assuming you have no obvious bump - if you do, it might mention itself!). Doesn't that in fact provide an answer to your question?

OwlinaTree Wed 18-Sep-13 08:17:21

mrslion I think your experience is the reality of the situation really. I think the deceit is a factor. If you can work in that atnosphere, that's OK, but not all can. I couldn't.

Welshwabbit Wed 18-Sep-13 08:14:57

That's true, bbcessex, and I didn't say maternity leave costs employers nothing. I certainly think there is an argument that the full costs of maternity leave should come out of taxation. There are policy arguments in favour of paid maternity leave that have nothing to do with discrimination - for example, the economic benefits of keeping women in the workplace. If the economy benefits from the policy, that's a good reason why everyone, not just the individual employer, should take the hit.

dontyouknow, I agree that morals are different from the legal position. Personally, if I was applying for a job in a local authority and I thought I would be a good person to do the job on a permanent basis, I would have no qualms about not mentioning the pregnancy at interview. Like the OP, I would mention it at the offer stage. I would have more qualms about it if I were going for a temporary position, or if the job required specialised input that would be difficult to replace at a particular time. I have turned down (unpaid but useful in career terms) positions on committees etc for that reason.

OwlinaTree Wed 18-Sep-13 08:14:36

I feel for you Fitzgerald, not an easy situation. I hope you manage to find something.

Are you sure you will want to go back 6 weeks after the birth? Is it your first child?

MrsLion Wed 18-Sep-13 08:11:07

I went for a job interview when I was 14 weeks pregnant too. Due to my particular circumstances at the time, being unemployed was not an option.

I got the job and told them the first week I was there.

It didn't go well.

Even if you are the best person by far for the job, it is highly inconvenient, frustrating and disappointing for employers. They also feel deceived, even if you are legally in the 'right'. Not really a good start to your working relationship.

Mine went from treating me like a superstar, to treating me like shit literally overnight. Then came the pressure to resign. It was truly awful.

In the end they made me redundant whilst I was on leave. Despite me doing a great job, they just couldn't get over my 'deceit'.

Despite that I'd still say go for it, they may have a different attitude than my employers. Its worth the risk if you really want/need a job.

But you have to be prepared for a very negative reaction and the possible consequences.

FitzgeraldProtagonist Wed 18-Sep-13 08:05:53

Come on! Answers please! I could start an identical thread, but seems pointless. I would, in fact want to take mat leave as holiday. Not costing a potential employer more. Some women just need to work. Not fuck over small businesses.

bbcessex Wed 18-Sep-13 07:20:24

welshwabbit.. You have not mentioned that full holiday is accrued during maternity leave. This is usually left out when people put info up to emphasise that maternity pay 'costs employers nothing'..

This 5.6 weeks (minimum) pay has to come directly out of the employers pocket. This can have a huge impact on a small business.

FitzgeraldProtagonist Wed 18-Sep-13 00:32:03

I am 15 week pg. I am unemployed. I need an income. I have RTFT, I am no further forward.

1. Should I apply for jobs or just be impoverished and apply like crazy as soon as delivered of newborn.
2. Tell them at interview and judging by attitudes above forget being employed.
3. Tell them at point of offer.
4. Take myself off to home for fallen women without a man to support them, or expect my partner to support me and my other DC, just to tie in with the thread abt the woman who lost her TCs for moving in with her partner.

Definitive answer please! I am applying. I am seeking temp contracts. Despite being a professional no temp contracts in my industry. Am looking at admin roles for which am rejected for being over qualified. I want to return to work 6 weeks post birth. Well?????

dontyouknow Tue 17-Sep-13 23:43:55

I am also a lawyer and deal with employment matters. Whilst legally I would know that I did not have to disclose it, morally I would not feel able to go ahead without disclosing it. At the firm of solicitors I work at I am sure it would not go down well (to say the least) if someone started working then announced they were pregnant.

I applied for a job last year. I didn't get it after the second interview as there was one aspect which I really wasn't keen on doing. Shortly afterwards I found out I was pregnant. I was really glad I hadn't been offered the job as I would have already accepted it and handed in my notice. I would have felt really guilty starting a new job pregnant - even though I didn't know at interview.

I think there are a lot of very lucky people above who have started a new job pregnant and not had any problems. Despite the legal position I think there are a lot of employers who would really not be happy about the situation.

OP you are in a more difficult position as you are currently unemployed. Legally you don't have to disclose it but only you will know if you are happy to go ahead on that basis.

blueshoes Tue 17-Sep-13 23:25:57

welshrabbit, that is a good description of the law. I understand that and have not disputed it. It applies for current employees and for interviewees. An employer cannot argue against it.

However, from an employees point of view, it is a foolish thing to start an employment relationship on the wrong foot or to go into a company not knowing whether the concealment is likely to be an issue. Prospective employees choose their employers too. Why force your way into a company that ultimately devalues your contribution even if you are competent and reinforces their distrust of hiring women of childbearing age. Some people seek to bring an discrimination claim. I frankly prefer not to waste my time and reputation in the wrong job and just find the best employer for my skills.

It is the OP's choice how she exercises her right.

Welshwabbit Tue 17-Sep-13 22:48:58

This thread has been an interesting read.

I'm an employment lawyer and whilst I do understand how inconvenient it can be for employers, particularly small employers, when an employee takes maternity leave, it has been the law for many years that you cannot take pregnancy or maternity leave into account in making employment decisions. That is the case even if you're hiring for a temporary contract and the employee will be away for much of it.

It is not the case, however, that employers have to bear the full cost of maternity pay. If only statutory maternity pay is paid, 92% can be reclaimed from the government by all employers. And small employers (those with class 1 NIC contributions - employer and employee - totalling £45,000 or less) can recover not only the full cost of SMP, but also an additional 3% compensation payment, which should cover at least some of their additional recruitment costs. See here for more info:

www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/spmmanual/spm21315.htm

As I said, I do understand the employer's predicament - but I also think it is disingenuous to say that, by hiding their pregnancies at interview, women make things harder for their sex generally. Women would not hide their pregnancy at interview if they could be sure that employers would act in a non-discriminatory way. As other have said above, pregnancy is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act because only women can become pregnant. It is not the same as long-term illness, or the desire to take a sabbatical, which affect both sexes equally. The position of women in the workplace has been precarious for many, many years because of purely biological factors. The law is there to try to change that.

OP, I wish you the best of luck in your interview. You are not obliged to reveal your pregnancy at interview. You deserve the chance to go for the job on an equal footing to everyone else. Although legally it makes no difference, the fact that the job is for a local authority means that they are more likely to have sophisticated maternity cover arrangements, so if you do get the job, I suspect they will be able to handle your pregnancy and maternity leave just fine.

bbcessex Tue 17-Sep-13 21:41:50

sorry - was specifically naming sameoldiggi because I read your post last, but I'm also reading the other posts of course!

bbcessex Tue 17-Sep-13 21:40:26

sameoldiggi.. I'm interested in the discussion.. It's such a contentious subject and I can see both sides, being a working woman with children.

Do you think there could / should be a difference depending on the size of the organisation?

For example, in a small business (say 5 or less employees), what do you think then? If eg 1/5th of the work force was recruited to meet a no doubt much discussed, urgent and much budgeted for position? Is it ok to interview for a role / accept a role, knowing you are pregnant and your future plans?

This, I think is different, than a larger company, that could potentially offer cover and absorb some of additional workload.

slightlysoupstained Tue 17-Sep-13 21:10:03

Statutory redundancy doesn't even kick in until two years, what a bizarre attempt to draw some kind of equivalence.

Renaming your idea "honest disclosure" (nice spin there) doesn't get around the fact that several people on this thread have stated they do not want it when they are making hiring decisions.

blueshoes Tue 17-Sep-13 20:32:56

The risk is on the employer if they embark on a shaky project. It costs to make people redundant. The employer has to pay the employee until the whole legal process is over. You can say that about any job. We take the risk that the company goes bust or the role is no longer needed.

In the same way, everyone understands that a pregnancy can always result in miscarriage. Disclosure does not necessarily mean the applicant loses the job.

Pretty negative thinking going on. I don't think honest disclosure is a difficult concept at all.

ModeratelyObvious Tue 17-Sep-13 18:23:45

One is a lot more common than the other. And both men and women could be taking that sabbatical.

Do you think the employer should disclose during the process if there's a risk the project could be cancelled and the job made redundant?

sameoldIggi Tue 17-Sep-13 18:22:09

A sabbatical and a pregnancy just aren't the same things. If you treat them as the same, then you are not accepting pregnancy as a protected characteristic. Also when should the honest employee disclose? At first bfp? At 12 weeks? A 20 weeks post anomaly scan? This is an ideal world where all pgs lead to babies. I have read a thread like this before, where the decision was taken out of the OP's hands by miscarriage. Should she have lost job as well as baby? And should men disclose if partner if pregnant? Fortunately we don't all have to decide individually about these things, we can just turn to legislation instead.

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