Snow: another reason for small business not to employ mothers?

(135 Posts)
Zealey Mon 21-Jan-13 18:30:47

OK, let me just say from the start this is probably trolling - and if you take it that way then I apologise as I don't mean offence to any individual personally, I just want to genuinely get the feel for the other side of the argument. I have a DD and a wife but she has had to take the day off work today as our daughter's school is shut. (Yes, I could've taken the day off instead of her, but we agreed mutually that I had more important things to do than her as I run a small business and she is part of a public sector which deals better).
My point is, with the majority of children coming from divorced and single homes these days, AIBU to not employ a single mum to my small business (when there is a man EQUALLY qualified to fill the job) because of all the time off they need and the risk even of them deciding to get pregnant again and force me through all merry dances of temps/maternity pay/will she/won't she come back/ etc.
There seems to be a knee jerk reaction that any such talk of the reality of this is sexist, but surely it is a fair point to at least accept the reality and have a discussion. However, I understand if someone feels the need to report this thread as it does pose some uncomfortable questions.

EuroShagmore Mon 21-Jan-13 18:32:53

I think the problem is that you have decided your job is more important than hers. If everyone thinks like you, of course this will be an ongoing issue. If parents share there joint responsibilities more equally, attitiudes will change.

LifeofPo Mon 21-Jan-13 18:33:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Trills Mon 21-Jan-13 18:34:47

any such talk of the reality of this is sexist

What is sexist is the assumption that the woman is the one who must take time off when the child unexpectedly needs looking after, when it takes two to make a child.

You might want to join in the webchat later this week regarding shared/flexible parental leave.

Exactly what the elegantly titled EuroShagmore said

ChaoticintheNewYear Mon 21-Jan-13 18:37:32

Yes, EuroShagmore has put it perfectly.

skaen Mon 21-Jan-13 18:37:34

Could you provide the stats for your claim that the majority of children grow up in single parent households headed by a mother?

You know parental leave can be taken by both parents (inc part of maternity leave), don't you?

Samnella Mon 21-Jan-13 18:37:49

Did your wife take annual leave today then?

Trills Mon 21-Jan-13 18:39:27

You say that your wife's work could cope better without her than yours could cope with you - and this may be true depending on the nature of what you do (you couldn't take some paperwork home?), but you have already decided between you that she will take on a job that allows her this flexibility. You have already decided that her job is less important before the question even comes up. She has taken on a job-that-can-be-missed deliberately so that in cases like this she can take the day off.

If you are worried about your employees taking time off when it snows then:
1 - make it so that working for you is an interesting and valuable and high-ranking sort of job, so your employees can be the ones to say "my job is more important"
2 - make it so that your employees care about the company, so that they want to do the best they can by you and their coworkers, so they'll do their utmost not to let you and each other down
3 -make it possible for your employees to work flexibly, to take work home or to work flexible hours, and make it so that they know that they are trusted to do this and get things done - that way if they unexpectedly can't come in they can still get some work done

baremadness Mon 21-Jan-13 18:40:28

You dont know the individual circumstances of anyone you may employ. You may employ a single m9ther with loads of readilly available back up childcare. You may employ a man who takes time off sick at a drop of a hat. You may employ a man who takes his family responsibilities seriously. You may employ someone who develops a serious medical problem.

Case is shit happens all over. You cant second guess and as an employer you should hire the person best for the job at hand regardless.

As a woman I feel I have to be better than my male counterparts. You get me you get that much better for free.

manicinsomniac Mon 21-Jan-13 18:41:13

The OP is talking about single parent homes which are, largely, run by the mums.

I think it's definitely a tough one. No you shouldn't discriminate, you should take the best person for the job. But I can understand the temptation for a small empoyer not to take a single parent of either gender (and I am a single mum working for a relatively small business (private school).)

iliketea Mon 21-Jan-13 18:41:40

I agree with Euro - the problem is thar in general, childcare is seen as the mothers problem rather than equal responsibilty of both parents. You are perpetuating that by the fact you stated that your job is more important. What if you employed a man whose partner was an essential service (e.g nurse / paramedic / doctor) and you had a phone call to say he wasn't coming in as his partners job was more important, in case of school closure / child sickness; would you then decide you would only employ single people with no family committments at all?

frantic53 Mon 21-Jan-13 18:42:19

OK, everyone shoot me, but I can see where the OP is coming from. The sad fact of the matter is that women are still seen as the primary care givers and there are more children living with single mums than dads. It's a chicken and egg situation and it is worthy of discussion.

Tee2072 Mon 21-Jan-13 18:43:16

Of course the attitude is sexist. Your job is more important because you have a penis or because you and your wife decided it was?

GrendelsMum Mon 21-Jan-13 18:43:42

I think Trills make some very good points, but I think Zealey does have a point, even if its not quite the one he thinks it is.

It's very noticeable on the employment forums that in many male-female couples, the mothers are the ones taking all the time off, because 'their husbands jobs are too important / well paid to risk'. They see that they're doing the best thing for their family by not having their DH appear any less than 100% committed to his employer.

So I think that further emphasises Trills' point 1 - the job has to be seen as worthwhile to the family as a whole.

There are plenty of women who have taken on important paid work.

You assuming their job is worth less to them than a man you employ IS sexist.

TheFallenMadonna Mon 21-Jan-13 18:44:16

I don't get it.

If the only reason that you went to work and your wife stayed home is because you work for a small business and she doesn't, then surely if the woman worked for the small business and the man didn't, then the man would stay home.

And if they both worked for small businesses, then they would share the load equally, and there would be no disparity between the sexes.

confused at your logic...

CloudsAndTrees Mon 21-Jan-13 18:44:46

I don't think YABU. I'm a mother, after having children I chose a job that I could do that would allow me to be flexible because I knew there would be times that I would need flexibility.

acceptableinthe80s Mon 21-Jan-13 18:45:28

I am a single mother and small business owner and have to say yabvu.
How do you know that a single mother doesn't have adequate back up childcare for snow or illness or whatever? I certainly do.
However attitudes like yours (apart from being discriminatory) are the reason i'm sure many business owners don't employ women. When are the male species going to accept equal responsibility for the care of their children? Please drag your arse into the 21st century.

foslady Mon 21-Jan-13 18:45:30

You should employ the best person for the job.

I'm a single divorced mum. I NEED to work. Like the majority of us who are raising a child on their own. I consider I am more reliable then a lot of men as I need to work to keep a roof over my child's head and food in her stomach. A single man can bugger off any time as he has nil responsibilities

NumericalMum Mon 21-Jan-13 18:45:34

My husband's employer has the same attitude as you OP. we have similar jobs and responsibilities so have to split care when DC is ill etc. makes our lives so much harder with such small minded attitudes!

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Mon 21-Jan-13 18:45:43

If you actually want to have a discussion about this, try posting in a less twatish way and stop being deliberately patronising & provoking.


TheFallenMadonna Mon 21-Jan-13 18:46:01

Oh - read it properly now.

You're only planning on discriminating against divorced or otherwise single mothers (and presumably fathers with care...)

Well, that makes perfect sense then.

catgirl1976 Mon 21-Jan-13 18:46:03

You'd be fucked if you employed my DH

He does most of the childcare and all the cover if DS is ill or the nursery is closed.

And you wouldn't be able to afford me, despite my ready avaliability and lack of need for time off the children. smile

ApocalypseThen Mon 21-Jan-13 18:47:09

The problem - if this is a legitimate discussion - is that the only solution he proposes is punishing mothers instead of fathers stepping up. Always the case. If there's a social issue the answer is always to curtail women.

Samnella Mon 21-Jan-13 18:47:47

And what Euroshagmore says actually.

DH and I share childcare when one of them is ill. They have had 2 days in the last year so hardly a huge inconvenience. You could have a non parent take more sick days off than that. As a parent I tend to only take sick days if desperate as I am conscious I may need time off elsewhere.

You are selecting one group of people and deciding they are a problem when the same could be said of any group. I work with a large number of younger people (in their 20's), They have a lot of Mondays off sick hmm. Would you put a ban on those as well? I think you really need to take a look at your attitude towards women.

holidaysarenice Mon 21-Jan-13 18:47:52

I can 100% see the point and I think in tight financial times more employers will think like this.

Re time off. I think the point is, he is a small company too much time off and it goes under thus no wage for the family. In the public sector time off is widely abused and rarely would it result in the loss of a family wage.

ihearsounds Mon 21-Jan-13 18:47:55

Why is it that you have important things to do but your wife doesn't? Her career should be just as important as yours. A lot of reasonable households share taking time off with their children. At least we do, the exception being important meeting that we cannot get out of.
Men can get ill themselves and take time off. Men can request time off to go to scans and other pregnancy related appointments, including paternity. They can decide to tell you to shove your job, and so will have to go and look again at employing someone.
Regardless of gender, you should employ the person that is the best for the job.

Zealey Mon 21-Jan-13 18:48:03

Some great responses so far and I take the point of all of them. Thanks.
(By way of explanation - please don't get me wrong - I'm not saying 'my job is more important' as a value judgement, but I earn three times for the family what my DW income is, and her job is in the public sector which means there's always someone to cover, as is the way with massive government funded institutions) Whereas my business could go under if I take a risk on spending tens of thousands training an employee who always has to take time off for reasons to do with childcare. If you are a single mum then 'sharing the burden with your partner' just isn't an option. But of course I can't ask at interview a woman's domestic/childcare/family arrangements. I'm not saying the Status Quo is good or right - in fact it probably is sexist - but it is not MY job to change it, I'm just a little cog (or cock, as you may decide ;) ) in a massive wheel at the moment, and must deal with reality as it presents.

McNewPants2013 Mon 21-Jan-13 18:49:08

Well maternity leave can be split ( not sure now or later this year) so I don't get the maternity leave thing

ApocalypseThen Mon 21-Jan-13 18:50:12

Yeah well, you're making the future for your daughter too.

ArtexMonkey Mon 21-Jan-13 18:50:19

So op, are there any other laws you feel as an employer you should be entitled to break for your own convenience, or is it just the ones relating to equal opportunities?

ihearsounds Mon 21-Jan-13 18:50:54

Oh and single parent households. I know of 4. Big shocker here, 3 are men. Unless you were asking questions about households, then you wouldn't know really who is and isn't a sp household anyway. Your not allowed to ask about children are you in interviews?

PrettyKitty1986 Mon 21-Jan-13 18:51:22

I think the op has a fair point, sexist though it may be. When df was self employed and needed to employ someone, we knew from the beginning it would be a man. Why? Because we were such a tiny company that if we employed a woman who either had children and needed time off (let's face it, rightly or wrongly it's usually mum) or suddenly got pregnant, it would literally have finished us because we would have no funds to train someone else.
Harsh but true, you play to the odds so we went for the smallest risk.

BeanJuice Mon 21-Jan-13 18:51:38

I can see where the OP is coming from but it's not ideal.

Trills Mon 21-Jan-13 18:52:51

If you are employing people with little responsibility who just need to be there for the hours then you are not going to get the same level of commitment as if you are employing people who are invested (mentally, although financially helps too) in the work.

The phrase has been cheapened but if you want your employees to care you have to foster a feeling of "we are all in this together".

My mum organises covering shifts at her work and she has found it is the young unattached single people who have been more likely to say "I can't get in because of the snow", because they don't mind losing a day's wages and they don't really care about the consequences. If they can get away with it they will. The people who are making the most effort to get in are either those who have been there longer and so have a sense of loyalty to the person who is having to stay on after a long shift while cover is found, or those who just need the money. So employing a single parent would be better than employing a childless person if that's the sort of attitudes you might get.

EndoplasmicReticulum Mon 21-Jan-13 18:53:39

Don't employ my husband then. He takes days off if they are needed, not me. He took one off today, in fact.

You're assuming that in any given couple, the man has the more important, better paid job, and the woman takes the main childcare responsibility. That is not always the case.

tinierclanger Mon 21-Jan-13 18:53:42

Odd assumption that the woman's job always comes second just because that's how it is in your household. Here we decide on the day who can most easily miss work. That's normally how it should work in a partnership.

BTW I don't believe your statement about "the majority of children coming from divorced and single homes".

If you choose to employ based on a strategy of misguided assumptions, it's probably as much your loss as anyone else's I suppose. Provided you act within the law.

cory Mon 21-Jan-13 18:53:44

The problem is that if wives always take the time off, their wages will remain far lower than their husbands, making it harder for them to prioritise their careers.

Which will of course eventually affect their pensions and ability to provide for their families in the case of divorce or early demise of husband. In families I know where wives and husbands share the burden of childcare, the husbands tend not to get promoted quite as quickly or as far as they might otherwise have done (particularly if there are problems with chronic illness or disability) but there is less inequality and less of the risk of putting all your eggs in one basket.

Gibbous Mon 21-Jan-13 18:54:14

I would have thought that being your own boss makes it far easier to work from home and wonder what would have happened if your wife was the one with a small business and you were the one who had to work for the public sector.

I could quite see that subconsciously suddenly the public sector job would be more important and less flexible.

And why do you specify single mums? Why not single parents? If you are making a point about employing lone carers then say so. But I suspect you're not.

And everything EuroShagmore said.

Gibbous Mon 21-Jan-13 18:55:02

Are you making a point about married mothers or single parents OP?

acceptableinthe80s Mon 21-Jan-13 18:55:23

'sharing the burden' is possible as a single parent. Just because a couple separates doesn't necessarily mean the father ceases to exist! Lots of separated couples share custody. You're coming across as pretty ignorant tbh.

McNewPants2013 Mon 21-Jan-13 18:56:06

And as a mum I got to think very carefully before deciding to take time off. It's unpaid leave so it hard financially if I do.

louschmoo Mon 21-Jan-13 18:56:09

Yes yes to trills. I work for a small business, I am on my 2nd pregnancy and my employers have made it attractive for me to go back: they pay me competitively, they agreed to me returning part time after mat leave 1, they accept that my hours are 9-5 and are happy for me to work flexibly/from home, and they have never made a fuss on the odd occasion when my son has been ill and I've had to take the day off.
In return, I work my socks off. I took 6 months mat leave (statutory pay only) and will take 6 months with DC2. I often log in from home if I have a lot on. When my son has been ill my husband + I have shared the time off with DH taking the lion's share so that I'm not taking the piss out of my work - and I've always checked my email + logged in during naptimes on those days as well. I have my work email on my phone so am always in touch. I haven't had a sick day in a very long time - if I'm not vomiting or at death's door then I'm goung in. And I will remain at my company for the forseeable future because I doubt I would find a job with such family friendly employers easily. I think we both get a good deal.

FionaJT Mon 21-Jan-13 18:56:13

I take issue with the implication that single mums are the problem. If you're working and looking after kids on your own your chances of getting any sex at all are pretty damn slim, let alone planning to extend your family. A working single mother is the main wage earner for her kids and as such her job is just as important as any other traditional 'breadwinner'.
If you want to discriminate, at least target the happily married women who are way more likely to be planning another baby and, as others have pointed out, seem to be likely to put their husbands employment above their own.
And yes, I'm a single working mother, I haven't had date in 9 years and I pull out all the stops to be as reliable as possible because no one else is going to be looking after me and my daughter.

Gibbous Mon 21-Jan-13 18:59:42

If you want to discriminate, at least target the happily married women who are way more likely to be planning another baby and, as others have pointed out, seem to be likely to put their husbands employment above their own.

No, let's not discriminate against any women, aside from the fact it seems unlikely they would happily prioritise their husband's job.

Gibbous Mon 21-Jan-13 19:00:32

Sorry, I should have quoted to make it clear that wasn't my view.

"If you want to discriminate, at least target the happily married women who are way more likely to be planning another baby and, as others have pointed out, seem to be likely to put their husbands employment above their own.2

No, let's not discriminate against any women, aside from the fact it seems unlikely they would happily prioritise their husband's job.

caramelwaffle Mon 21-Jan-13 19:01:00

You are being unreasonable.

And cliched.

And illogical.

sausagesandwich34 Mon 21-Jan-13 19:03:13

I think people are going slightly off track with this one OP and making it a 'ooo you think you are so important' thread

so can I just clarify....

1) you run your own small business so it's pretty important that you are there, especially on a day when staff will potentially not arrive at work

2) your wife works in a public sector job with the flexibility to take time off that most private sector workers would give their back teeth for

3) together, you made the decision that she would take the day off to look after dd -you didn't make her

that is one issue taken care of -YANBU

the other issue, as I understand it is that as an employer running a small business, you are concerned about taking on female members of staff due to their potential to take time off to look after dcs etc, and the fact that your wife's day was disrupted today due to the weather, made you think about it and post the question on here today?

there are massive financial pressures on small business in relation to materity, sick pay, upcoming changes to pensions, NI etc etc
and yes if you have you only have 5 staff and 2 off them don't show up it can have a massive impact on the running of the business and as the owner, this is obviously important to you -as it should be

as other posters have pointed out, men as well as women can have time off uexpectedly at an actual cost to the business and also as a knock on effect to the business

as a manager, my personal experience is that it is the mothers that take time off I had to today and for everyone saying 'why is the father's job more important, he should take time off' -society is not going to change overnight and that is the reality, especially if one parent works part time and the other full time, it will usually be the part time person that takes the time off in my experience

I do however employ a man who's wife is a nurse and it is him that takes time off, and I have a single dad who works part time and will take the time off if needed

YWBU not to employ a woman on the basis that she would possibly have more time off, but I do understand why you would be concerned about it so YWNBU to worry about it

McNewPants2013 Mon 21-Jan-13 19:04:49

Op do you know anything about maternity leave, because a gay male couple adopts a baby one of the couple has the same legal rights as a 'mother'

FionaJT Mon 21-Jan-13 19:05:49

Obviously, I'd rather that no-one was discriminated against (can't type sarcastically) - but the OPs arguement was particularly stupid in appearing to specifically beat single mothers with a stick (maternity leave) that would seem to be mostly applicable to women in relationships.

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 21-Jan-13 19:09:01

I work for my dads heating company. On Friday when all the schools closed early it was the men who left work early to go and collect their kids. One if them even borrowed a company 4x4 to do so.

Many if the men had wives in Jess flexible jobs like care and the health service

I was the minority bring the mum who had he sat off with the children. Dh is a teacher & his school was open. Apparently today most if the Ben including managers were off with their children.

frantic53 Mon 21-Jan-13 19:09:38

What sausage said.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ubik Mon 21-Jan-13 19:12:01

DP runs a business

I work nights

Today he had to finish early and get kids from school so I could sleep.
He earns more than I do. But we are a team.

nailak Mon 21-Jan-13 19:14:54

i remember when i was a kid my mum was working, mine and my bros childcare was near her work. We walked 3 miles in the snow my mum pushing my bro in the pushchair, so my mum could go to work.

so YABU. single mums need to be at work.

Isabeller Mon 21-Jan-13 19:15:06

Will you also screen out men who have or might have future caring responsibilities for elderly parents? And anyone with a disability or at risk of developing the need for healthcare? Childless women who are lesbians or still have a womb?

Who would be your ideal employee?

Xales Mon 21-Jan-13 19:15:21

You are kidding about there always being someone to cover just because it is a public/government body right? Those people all have their own jobs to do. Not every public servant sits on their butt twiddling their fingers especially in these days of cuts and redundancies. Those people will have their own work as well as being stressed being dumped with your wife's work and probably every other mother parent that didn't make it in because their H's partners work is clearly more important.

I as a single parent have had one day off sick, one day for my DS being ill and two now for snow over the last 2 years.

Where as the 30 year old male that worked opposite me (before he left) had around 8 weeks off due to stress plus other time off for sickness in that same time period.

The other woman who works with us who is beyond child bearing age (I am getting there!) has has roughly 4 or more weeks off sick, and several weeks unpaid leave agreed with less than a weeks notice dumping on the rest of us again in the last 2 years.

Single parent/mother does not equal more time taken off. In fact I would say more days were lost to hangovers being unfortunately ill on a Monday morning by non mothers who can't go out drinking & partying.

nailak Mon 21-Jan-13 19:16:00

i just realised that made no sense. We were walking as the trains and buses were not working due to snow. A lot of other people at my mums work who lived closer, no kids etc didnt go in that day.

PessaryPam Mon 21-Jan-13 19:16:20

OP is correct and it's something you have to consider if you run a small business that cannot absorb staff being off.

lisad123everybodydancenow Mon 21-Jan-13 19:17:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Out of curiosity, do you currently employ any mothers? Do you currently employ anyone?

I wonder because I have done lots of recruitment (mainly people who I would later manage) and it is very rare that you get two people with exactly the same background and credentials, especially if you are recruiting for a job that requires experience. When faced with the reality of the situation you may find that the sex of the applicant is of less consequence than you think.

You are, of course, right to worry about reliability if you are a small business. I have spent most of my working life working for SMEs and a large proportion of the rest working for myself. No, you cannot ask someone if they are a single mother and, to be honest, if you did the answer may still give you no clue as to how robust their support system is should their child get ill. Neither can you ask someone if they plan to get pregnant (and again, with the unpredictability of fertility, this may not help anyway!) What you can do is stress the importance of reliability in your adverts, job description and at interview and ask for examples where the applicant has had to overcome obstacles in order to be somewhere on time/not let someone down. You can also ask applicants what their plans are for their future career, where they see themselves in 2, 5, 10 years etc.

Lots of small business owners struggle with recruitment, and why wouldn't you? You started your business because you had skills in your particular field, not because you knew everything about running a company and employing people. I think simply crossing women off your list will not guarantee you a faithful and long-serving employee and, given the risk to your business if you don't find someone like this, I would recommend looking to top up your skills in this area or hiring an external consultant to help you when you recruit.

baremadness Mon 21-Jan-13 19:20:50

Apocolypse made a brilliant point. You have a dd. By happilly discriminating against women you are making her journey more difficult.

As a parent it IS your job to facilitate change and to be a responsible employer.

determinedma Mon 21-Jan-13 19:20:55

I think the op posts some interesting questions, politely too! smile
Snow days are one thing, but when it comes to pregnancy then there is a limit to how couples can share this one equally! Maternity leave can cripple a small business.when I ran my business with my business partner, we only employed men or older women for this reason. Sorry, but the business supported both our families and had to survive.It was a business owned and run by two women but we couldn't afford to support pregnant staff.

knackeredmother Mon 21-Jan-13 19:21:18

I haven't read the whole thread but today was a snow day at my dd school. I had a little canvas amongst the parents and without exception it was the mothers who took the day off. I work in the NHS and there was a large proportion of female staff off for their dc's school closures. I will be flamed for saying this but I think the op may have a point.

FairPhyllis Mon 21-Jan-13 19:21:44

Yes, you're just a cog in the system. The system that your daughter will have to fight and survive in. Or does her future not matter?

Soupqueen Mon 21-Jan-13 19:23:09

Given that you have no idea of someone's personal circumstances when you interview them, you'd be safer not employing women full stop.........

Dirtymistress Mon 21-Jan-13 19:23:26

I am the only manager in the company I work for who is part-time. So there are about 300 others who do the same job as me in full time hours. I was granted my flexible working request after having DC1 and I am very grateful for it. I am never, ever the one who stays at home on the odd occasion when said child is sick. DP (male!) always does it because I have to do my job in 3 days as it is and would never give anyone the opportunity to suggest I wasn't up to the task. In my opinion, and experience, lots of working mums feel just like I do so by having that attitude you are missing out on employing someone completely committed to the job purely because they have kids. More the fool you!

limon Mon 21-Jan-13 19:24:43

It's probably been said up-thread but there is surely no way you'd know if someone was a mother at interview stage?

flippinada Mon 21-Jan-13 19:24:53

I don't think it's unreasonable for someone who runs a small business to be concerned about the reliability of his or her staff.

It is hugely unreasonable and prejudiced to assume that single mother = unreliable.

Anecdotally, in my last job the worst people for taking time off and leaving colleagues in the lurch were a 30 something man (various 'stress related' illnesses) a married mum and older, married man.

LizzieVereker Mon 21-Jan-13 19:25:22

But why does "earns more money?" have to equal "more important/indispensable" in the hierarchy of workers?

What I mean by that is, if one parent runs a small business, might it not be easier for them to do emergency childcare, because they could work from home if they have phone, PC Internet access? Whereas the other parent who might work in healthcare or education simply cannot work from home.

It irks me that the jobs often undertaken by women with children, such as TA roles, healthcare roles and retail positions etc are seen as "little jobs". These might not pay brilliantly but they are immensely important, economically and socially.

IME single parents are often the most reliable because they are self reliant;
they have generally thought the "what ifs" out before they accept a contract.

You might be a little cog OP, but you are perpetuating a status quo which you might not want your daughter to have to fit in with.

TheBrideofMucky Mon 21-Jan-13 19:26:50

This is really strange, I always thought children had two parents.

Suttyshotty Mon 21-Jan-13 19:27:08

I went to work today and my DP took my son to work with him this morning and then had this afternoon off with him......he isn't even his biological father. Just because your job is "more important" it doesn't follow that this is the same for all couples, nor do I think that most children live with just one parent as you suggest. So gender should not influence your decision to employ someone, it should be based on their ability to do the job, not what's in their pants!

gordyslovesheep Mon 21-Jan-13 19:27:56

yabu - I am a lone parent ex is self employed - we SHARE INSET days/snow days/sick day for our 3

having breasts does not make you unreliable - having no option to share the load isn't always anyones fault

MrsKeithRichards Mon 21-Jan-13 19:31:52

2010 dh was self employed, no work equalled no pay. I automatically took time off when needed. Now we're both employed in proper contracted jobs it'll be split more equal.

ArtexMonkey Mon 21-Jan-13 19:32:05

so your wife went back to work in the end then op?

And now instead of dossing about at coffee mornings, she dosses about in the public sector where everyone knows everyone takes the piss with time off and sick leave and when they do go in they just sit around scratching themselves and banning christmas etc ec?

Is it me or is it almost as if you have some kind of agenda op? Colour me hmmfaced.

Backtobedlam Mon 21-Jan-13 19:32:13

No one has a crystal take on a young, single male and they may meet someone and move, or leave for a better job, both men and women could become ill whether single, married, with kids etc. I really don't think that 1 or 2 days off for snow every couple of years is going to significantly impact on your business. Intact if you run a small business it would make sense to employ as varied a cross section of society as possible. Oh, and you could always step up if needed, my husband sent all office staff home early in the snow and stayed to man the phones/email himself. In a small business that's something you can do, and that will be appreciated and remembered by employees.

messybedhead Mon 21-Jan-13 19:35:41

OP has a point. In a usual situation, the parent whose career/ pay will be affected less by a day off, will take the day off for sick day/ snow day whatever.

On the whole, that would be the woman.

^ I don't think anything I've said so far is offensive.

Yes we can blame it on our patriarchal society, but whatever the reason, this is usually the case.

However, I said "on the whole" and not "always".

I took a day off before Xmas with a sick DD. My DP and I had discussed this and as my job was the better one with more opportunity for progression, we had previously decided that he would be responsible for sick days etc.

However, my DP was self employed at the time and I work in the public sector where I would not be docked pay or anything, and so I took the time off.

I did feel extremely guilty about using the excuse that 'DD is ill' and did feel that if I was a man then my female colleagues would have probably been discussing what a wonderful family man I was.

I think I'm rambling now confused but what I mean is, the OP made a decision that is best for his family, as did I. The sad situation is that for most families, the woman's career is the one put on hold for the children. This leads to it making more sense that the woman is the default carer. Now I'm not agreeing with this but this is how it works in most situations (not mine).

Maybe when man can carry and give birth to a child, things might be more equal! grin

DoItToJulia Mon 21-Jan-13 19:36:20

Is the question not "what can we do to address this?" OP whilst you may have a point, your response to it merely compounds the issue.

AnyFucker Mon 21-Jan-13 19:42:31

You need to meet a couple of my male colleagues

One we call "Sicknote Jim" (not his real Christian name) because he engineers it so he can take just enough sick leave at carefully timed intervals so he doesn't get disciplined

The other really is sick. He has been off for 6 months with a male-related cancer.

Don't make assumptions. It's a stupid thing to do.

GinandJag Mon 21-Jan-13 19:46:57

I think it is very difficult to assume priorities.

DH earns 4x what I earn so, yes, his job is more important.

However, he has more control of his time than I have. I have to work at my work place between prescribed hours. I don't have any flexibility in this at all.

If he isn't travelling or have a face-to-face meeting, he can come and go as he pleases, and even work from home.

He is the one who does snow days, picks them up if they are ill at school, takes them to music exams.

TheCrackFox Mon 21-Jan-13 19:56:48

Dh and I take it in turns for time off when the kids can't get to school for whatever reason. DH owns his own business too but, I guess, he is not a wanker.

You're probably right not to employ a woman as your rampant misogyny would make you an utterly shit boss for any woman in your employ.

As for the rest of it - DH and I take turns when one of the DCs needs to be off. If its a choice between the two of us then he takes the time as I earn twice what he does so its better for me not to lose pay than him.

I manage a department full of men. Many of them take time off with their children as they're family men and not utter twats.

Portofino Mon 21-Jan-13 20:03:22

I tend to cover sick days and snow days - but because I can work from home, and dh's employer is less flexible. I notice that plenty of MEN at my company do the same - well because the company is flexible and we have laptops/VPN etc and maybe their wife's employer is less so.

Isabeller Mon 21-Jan-13 20:06:16

Does your business have a mission statement (or whatever they're called now)?

IfNotNowThenWhen Mon 21-Jan-13 20:11:14

Most single mums (and I am the only one in my ds's class at school, so very far from the majority) work damn hard, and very loyal to a good boss, have childcare back up (we are used to having to have this) and are NEVER ill. We can't afford to be ill.
And some single parents are men. My ex was one-had sole custody. His parents helped out on snow days/ ill days. Bet you wouldn't think twice about employing him because it wouldn't even occur to you to ask about his childcare arrangements.

SizzleSazz Mon 21-Jan-13 20:18:28

All the 'mums' <shudder> that i know who work are all massively committed to their jobs and do whatever they can to minimise any impact of not being able to get in.

Today Dh didn't go in and did school runs whilst i went to work. My boss (a director in a large company) also worked from home and did the school run whilst his wife went to work.

It isn't always the woman who does the compromising work wise. I do think it is very important to foster a sense of loyalty and commitment with your staff - you may be surprised how much people put themselves out to minimise disruption to your business in such circumstances

ivykaty44 Mon 21-Jan-13 20:20:58

Op would you employ a divorced man who didn't take his share of the childcare on?

I have an ex who wouldn't dream of in the last 14 year of having his daughter when sick or for snow days, he has let his daughter down for visits to go into work. School rang him once as his daughter was ill and he told them to "call the next person on the emergency list as I am busy" His employer loves him as he is loyal and will always come into work when needed.

His daughters do not though have a good relationship with their father. He has turned up at hospital when he has been called in free time, he is not uncaring when it is suitably timed

Would his employer really not have such respect for him if he had done half the sharing of child care when needed?

ivykaty44 Mon 21-Jan-13 20:26:28

I will add though I have never missed a day at work due to snow - I have always managed to get a babysitter somehow, illness mostly managed to get babysitters - apart from when dd2 got swine flu and work refused me going into work as they thought I might pass it on. Of course I was docked pay as I was not sick myself...which just goes to show thier level of commitment

AutumnMadness Mon 21-Jan-13 20:34:15

Sorry, I am grumpy tonight.

Why is it that employers are always so bloody worked up about the women who might take an odd day off to care for their sick children but otherwise work their arses off than about the men who, while they may be at work, sit around scratching their balls? Grrrrr.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 21-Jan-13 20:38:09

Well it doesn't always work like that.

I work in the public sector, Dh works for a small private company and earns twice what I do. But if someone has to take the day off for dd it is always Dh.

In 11 years I've never taken a day off for dd, not for illness, hospital appts or snow.

Because if I don't go in to work I'd let so many people down and cause so many problems for my colleagues. Even though Dh has an important job, there would be no drama if his work wasn't done till the next day.

brettgirl2 Mon 21-Jan-13 20:40:19

Surely they end up taking it as annual leave anyway as emergency leave is unpaid usually so it makes no bloody difference. Men should take their turn though it would irritate me if some woman was constantly off while the dad was as work even if they weren't together (unless she really did have no support) One of the blokes in my office took a half day today to share childcare but so many are sexist twats who think they are more important.

0blio Mon 21-Jan-13 20:52:01

Sadly ivykaty44, employers would probably prefer someone like your ex.

ApocalypseThen Mon 21-Jan-13 21:09:03

Just watching the comic relief bake off piece from the women's bakery in Ghana. Women are fantastic and it's the OP's loss if he doesn't want to employ mothers with their energy, resource, creativity and enterprise.

PastaDee Mon 21-Jan-13 21:11:04

YABU. DH and I share the responsibility when DD is sick even though I work in the public sector and he doesn't.

I resent the implication that there is a great government funded network of staff just waiting to cover my work. There is no one. When it is my 'turn' to take time off I take it as annual leave, answer my phone and emails and spend the entire evening working to catch up despite the fact I'm not expected to do that. My employers are getting a rather good deal really.

LuluMai Mon 21-Jan-13 21:12:05

Very judgmental. I'm a single mum and ds's dad doesn't see him. However I'm very lucky in that my own dad is very supportive and always looks after my son if he's ill so I rarely have time off work for that. Just because someone is e single parent, you don't how good their support networks are. They could have more help available than married women.

sarahtigh Mon 21-Jan-13 21:15:18

as an aside a lot of self employment is not about being able to work at home or needing internet access loads of self employed people run shops ( can'tr be shut) are plumbers and other trades ( more needed on snow days than other days)

both myself and DH are self employed I'm a dentist work 2 days a week he is in joinery and antiques, if it is these 2 days he will do childcare as I can't cancel patients but often it is difficult for him to cancel his work and he mostly is not home and on occasions it may mean she had to go and sit in van

OP has a point it is mostly mothers that take time off, it is mostly women you have child with them during school week even if custody shared ( it should not be like this but it is) there are men who are off etc but on average the vast majority not working are women on snow days, when self employed it is no money but emergency leave in reality can mean just a few hours to arrange childcare,

parental leave legally has to be applied for, can be turned down so long as given within 6 months of request and employer can insist it is in weekly blocks not odd days, neither do they have to let you take day as annual leave

the reality in this economic climate is that if employed in private sector or self employed the decision is difficult as you can lose business and while it should not happen I think some would be in danger of losing their job if they took time off

CloudsAndTrees Mon 21-Jan-13 21:21:10

Maternity leave can cripple small businesses, it's perfectly understandable that small business owners are reluctant to employ women of childbearing age.

StickEmUp Mon 21-Jan-13 21:23:53

Isn't this type of discrimination illegal anyway?
I don't really have an opinion but its just my thought

StuntGirl Mon 21-Jan-13 21:24:42

Where are your sources for your figure of "the majority of children come from single or divorced families"?

What small business do you run where it costs tens of thousands to train new starters?

StuntGirl Mon 21-Jan-13 21:26:15

It is completely illegal stickem but virtually impossible to police. Hence shoddy employers like this one get away with doing it daily.

Winternight Mon 21-Jan-13 21:30:46

This is why when our dc are ill my dh takes time off as his employers are so much more understanding than mine.

When he does it he is regarded as a good dad. If I do then I'm a poor employee.

Your attitude perpetuates this thinking.

HollyBerryBush Mon 21-Jan-13 21:32:17

All depends on the nature of the job doesnt it?

I never cease to amazed at the amount od small business springing up all over - but thats different issue. Taking gender out, if one partner is a milko (dairy franchise) and the other is on the switchboard at the local council, then it stands to reason that the switchboard operator will have more scope to alter hours, make time up, have a parental day - highly unlikely that the milko will have a fall back for his/her round nor be able to field 4am child care; factor in with the self employed the loss of earnings, business, outlay etc with someone in public sector or blue chip.

dayshiftdoris Mon 21-Jan-13 21:33:25

Have been a single parent forever (8yrs+)

I have worked until 4 months ago but you know what I can't offer employers even a little bit of what I need to give them... I have and it had a massively negative impact upon my child so I had to do less... but then I was being paid well to do a job that I couldnt do at full capacity...

So I tried to re-train but at the same time it all fell apart at home and I ended up off sick then leaving...

There is no one to pick up the pieces or help me out you see... ex not around, no family and son has ASD so I am screwed and quite frankly so is any employer that takes me on.

I am bloody good at what I do, have excellent experience and I have high academic qualifications but have to resign myself that whatever my potential is it is on hold.

So OP YABU - I wouldnt recommend employing me.... not in a million years.

Though if anyone is after a private tutor in about 4 months then I might well be your woman wink

mrsmagee Mon 21-Jan-13 21:40:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AmandaLF Mon 21-Jan-13 21:45:54

I haven't read it all but does that mean you wouldn't employ people that lived a good bit away incase they couldn't get in regardless weather they have children? I work in the public sector and due to staff not managing to get in due to snow there has been a lot of times we've struggled as its actually not all that easy to get staff to cover as there's other areas short as well.

elastamum Mon 21-Jan-13 21:48:22

TBH you are unreasonable and rather sexist. Why pick on single mums. Wouldnt they be less likely to get pregnant again not having a partner hmm Also I would love to know where you get the idea that most children are bought up by single mums? But really the most unreasonable thing you are doing is to assume that the man wont be involved in childcare. I pity your children.

BTW I am a LP in a senior job. Fortunately my employer is a lot more broad minded that you are and employs me for my expertise.

expatinscotland Mon 21-Jan-13 21:49:49

'You're probably right not to employ a woman as your rampant misogyny would make you an utterly shit boss for any woman in your employ.'

Nail hitting head. I'm probably still fertile, but I won't take mat leave ever again as my spouse has been sterilised, but I'd be lumped in with all your 'childbearing age' judgements. FWIW, when I did take mat leave, DH was a SAHD and I didn't take but about 4 months as we couldn't afford any drop in pay. I don't know any single mums who took a whole year off - they can't afford it the way women with partners who were earning could.

maddening Mon 21-Jan-13 22:01:08

Maybe don't employ humans.

Those who are in a partnership or married may separate.

Your employee's spouse might die.

Their children may become terribly ill.

They might get ill or become disabled

They might find other employment opportunities.

They might sack you off as they have won the lottery.

That's the thing with humans smile

theskyonasnowynight Mon 21-Jan-13 22:02:36

If you run a small business on tight margins which could be crippled by any one member of staff taking unpredictable or protracted absences (not just disrupted but crippled) you should look at running your business with contractors or having profit share as part of the pay structure instead as far as possible.

It isn't just single mothers - or any type of mother - or even any type of woman - who can cripple a business in this way. My friend spent three month's salary training someone (a bloke) up to do a specific role, at which point the bloke promptly left to go travelling. Part of the problem was sheer bad luck, part of it was his lack of company loyalty and just as significant a part of it was her not having anything in his reward structure or employment terms to incentivise or compel him to stay once he was trained (such as a monthly increase once trained, or monthly bonuses or a three month notice period, all of which have been fairly common in the bigger companies I've seen).

roseum Mon 21-Jan-13 22:03:12

Don't know if you've noticed - but the law about 'maternity leave' has changed - the father can now take the time instead of the mother. At present this only applies for the last 6 months (or any fraction of that 6 months that the parents choose), but the government is planning to make it so that either parent can take any fraction of the 12 months. So worrying about the woman going off on maternity leave may no longer apply - you could employ a nice, safe, man, and then find that because his partner is the higher earner, they decide that he'll take the leave as paternity leave and be off for a year.

ApocalypseThen Mon 21-Jan-13 22:04:31

Indeed. Humans, eh? I find the level of endorsement of the OPs views most depressing. Humans don't actually exist for the convenience of small business owners.

Sam100 Mon 21-Jan-13 22:11:21

OP - You run your own business and are presumably the boss? Why didn't you take your DD to work? Or as a girl is the workplace not somewhere she should aspire to be?

DeliCatedinthewok Mon 21-Jan-13 23:32:02

OP, whether you take on board the assurances given from posters' personal experience that female workers aren't a significantly higher risk to your business is of course up to you. Somehow I suspect you won't, because they don't chime in with your own perception of general attitudes to work, which seem to go deep with you. And I doubt that appealing to your aspirations for the future employment opportunities of your DD will persuade you to try and improve things by taking a stand now, by simply choosing the best applicant regardless of gender for your vacancy.

But you could consider what my DP did 3 years ago when in need of clerical support, when I went back to my profession after taking a career break with our youngest (while at home' I'd gradually taken on his books, pricing, costing, design work, quotations, client presentations and liason, invoicing, etc., but as his business expanded it had long ceased really to be a 'spare time' job).

Instead of putting all his eggs in one basket, he advertised it as a job share - with the expectation that it would probably appeal to mums with school age children. In fact it turns out one of them happens to be exactly that, but the other best candidate turned out to be a gentleman nearing retirement age, whose employer's company had gone bust, and saw no realistic prospect of another full time job.

They have both worked out really well. They cover for each other during holidays, and if the need arises, for medical, childcare or weather reasons (it rarely does - they are both conscientious to a fault). They sort their hours out between them, just informing my DP of what they have arranged. At interview DP ran the idea past them that if one was unable to work for any extended period, the other would be offered the chance to cover their hours, and ultimately (if one moved on) the other would be invited to apply for the post on a full time basis, or if they preferred not to, to be involved in interviewing for their colleague's replacement.

DP gets the peace of mind that even in worst case scenario (if one fell under a bus, god forbid!) at least his business wouldn't be crippled.

sashh Tue 22-Jan-13 04:20:28

This is sexist bollocks.

Why don't you move your company to a country with no snow? It would be about as logical.

Yes women still do the majority of childcare, but would you employ a single parent father?

And did yo notice all the hospitals closing because the majority of the employees are female? Oh hang on, that's right, they didn't close did they, because their staff managed to get in.

AloeSailor Tue 22-Jan-13 05:31:08

<steps out of time machine, realises she has landed in 1953, gets back in, slams door quck and heads back to 2013>

cory Tue 22-Jan-13 09:20:43

Funnily enough, we have had several threads on relations where the woman is complaining of lack of childcare support from her partner which means she does not have time to run her own small business: he, of course, cannot take time off because he has a Real Job and his employer wouldn't stand for it.

Which makes me wonder what the set-up would be like in the OPs family if the OPs partner ran the business and the OP was employed.

dreamingofsun Tue 22-Jan-13 09:48:52

slightly more foreward thinking employers, such as the one i work for, allow people to work from home. as such their staff retention is very high and they have much more highly skilled/experienced people than they would normally. mothers like me stay, as it fits in with other responsibilities. had i been a man i probably would have changed jobs to one that was better paid. hopefully not to a place like yours that sounds like its run by a dinasaur.

MMcanny Tue 22-Jan-13 10:12:05

I think just because it is the way things work in your house does not mean it is the way it works in all homes. In our home it is more likely to be my husband takes time off if need be for the kids, though it is probably more equal than that. I get paid more so my job takes priority. Plus, I work from home and can set my hours round the kids so it would seem lake taking a bit of a liberty to be off when the kids are not in school. Mostly I work evenings when they are in bed anyway. We both work in the private sector. I get more holidays and we don't use any outside childcare so I take half days when the schools are planned to close, or DH has to take a whole day just to cover those six hours. I work just under five hours during school and over five in the evening, four days per week. This suits my employer very well because our business has to cover out-of-hours. On occasion, like sickness when kids are lethargic anyway, or bad weather, I have worked with one or both kids in house. Again this suits my employer as often other office based staff cannot make it in at all, even without caring responsibilities in the mix. I am rarely off sick myself. My work does not suffer.

When I was effectively a single parent, my retired parents and inlaws did all the childcare infill so even when I had to work short notice overtime there was no question that it would/could be covered. I also had at-home-mum sister in laws who would help out on occasion, and of course, the childrens' father although he lived and worked away. I accept that I was maybe luckier than most in that situation. But my attitude was that I was grateful to have such a flexible employer who let me fix my hours most of the time so I have always been very accommodating of their requests. At one point in our house we were both pressed by our employers to work the same hours so DH became a stay-at-home parent for a while and I went from part-time to full-time variable hour working with my employer to fully satisfy their needs. In that case, had my husband's small business employer been able to pay him more and give him better terms and conditions than I had, it would have been the other way around.

You get what you pay for regardless of the gender of your employee. There are laws limiting such sexist assumptions as yours for a reason. I have one female friend who is separated from her husband and he has custody of their children at the other end of the country. She is not in the childcare pool apart from a few weeks per year when she takes annual leave. Her employer would be totally wrong to discriminate against her on the basis of her being a single parent. She is both single and a parent but her work is her life, not the family home.

FriendlyLadybird Tue 22-Jan-13 11:08:21

Legally there is no reason why a single mother should tell you that she is a single mother during recruitment -- as indeed a man does not have to tell you about his family circumstances.

So unless you plan on discriminating against ALL women, on the off-chance that they might be single mothers or the ones who provide cover when nursery/school is closed, I can't see how you'd make this decision. Given the number of men who do provide childcare and cover, I think you should discriminate against them too.

Oops. Looks like you'd better not employ anyone at all.

ShamyFarrahCooper Tue 22-Jan-13 12:08:48

YABU to think you can just exclude women because she is a woman. Hiring a man who is equally qualified as a woman, purely because he is a man IS discrimination. I'd hate it if my husband thought like you.

We decide on the day who is taking the day if needed. There are certain days it is a nightmare for me to be off, and same for husband. We have been known to do a half day each, depending on deadlines/meetings. Oh, and whilst we earn the same basic, his earnings are more than mine as he gets commission payments and I do not.

sherbetpips Tue 22-Jan-13 12:20:06

No shooting you from here. From a small business perspective it is very very difficult to run the business if your employees keep going off work for whatever reason. You lessen the chances of that if you employ a man in the current climate (regardless of whether that is right or wrong).
This is a small business - no working from home, no making up time later, etc. he needs people to be in work, reliable and thinking of the job first to keep his company afloat. How many of us working mums are willing to commit to that 100%? Not me and that is why he shouldn't be employing us and why most of us choose to work in companies that have the option to offer us flexibility.

SizzleSazz Tue 22-Jan-13 12:31:06

Sherbert, i am totally flummoxed by your point confused. DH commits to his job (as do I) but he has had more time off than me for illness, car breaking down etc than I have. So I would actually be a more reliable employee than him. We share emergency childcare issues.

dreamingofsun Tue 22-Jan-13 12:42:01

sherbet - on that logic small businesses shouldn't employ men with old parents either? Several of my colleagues have had to take time off recently because their elderly parents have been ill and then for funerals etc - the latter can be up to a week if they need to clear people's houses out and deal with all the fall-out.

ICBINEG Tue 22-Jan-13 12:44:24

It is perfectly reasonable to want to only employ people who are not on call for childcare, and are unlikely to go on maternity leave.

It is totally unreasonable to assume that this means hiring men over women.

My DH is the one on call for childcare and has taken far more leave to look after the baby than I have.

When you generalize you discriminate.

Treats Tue 22-Jan-13 13:08:50

Sherbert - I'm a bit shock at your post.

I work for a small business and am about to take my third maternity leave - it's gone from strength to strength in the time I've worked here, so I always get irritated by these "fertile and childbearing women are such a THREAT to small businesses" arguments.

"he needs people to be in work, reliable and thinking of the job first ". Fair enough - don't disagree, but YABU because:

a) that's what I do - even though I have a child!
b) there's no guarantee that you would get that from someone who didn't have children.

If the OP wants to manage the risks to his business from potentially unreliable workers, he should look at all his recruitment and retention practices. By planning to discriminate against a whole swathe of people, based on their potential fecundity, he's cutting off a valuable source of experience and skills.


- a parent returning to the workforce might be happy to accept a lower salary in return for increased flexibility. If they can get a full time role done in four days, then it's a win win for both sides.

- if you had two part timers instead of a full timer, they could cover each other and you wouldn't risk losing 100% of their skills and experience if one of them leaves.

- maternity leave offers the opportunity to try out someone with
different skills and experience and to do something different. If you have to downsize for a bit, then not having to pay someone for up to a year can surely only be helpful!

Prob been said (I skipped two pages of replies) but:
I am a woman, the only one in our small business (4 employees total). I am the only one who will therefore possibly become pg - currently TTC.

I am very aware that in such a small organisation, even a very short mat. leave will cause endless headaches; the work I do is very specialised, and it took me 6 months plus to understand the processes and learn to manage the workload. Replacing me with a temp/mat cover would be hard. So I feel for my employer, and I fully understand the reluctance of small business owners to employ women who are childless but of an age where it might be reasonably expected that on average, they are more likely to take mat. leave than not.

I do see that men/women unlikely to have children etc are also a 'risk' - but the 'they might leave/have to care for a parent/die' arguments apply to ALL employees, the 'risk' of a female employee of childbearing age become pregnant is an extra risk on top of the usual ones. Obviously, you can't have a business without risk, but in a difficult economic environment, I don't think it's unfair to consider this as an issue. Sorry, I know this will be unpopular, but OP asked for opinions.

IfNotNowThenWhen Tue 22-Jan-13 14:17:44

Clouds and trees: Men have children too.Children are not the sole responsibility of women. So maybe we shouldn't employ men of childbearing age then?
Good plan hmm

IfNotNowThenWhen Tue 22-Jan-13 14:19:12

Every woman I know who works "part time" works harder than the men they work with (and they bring more money and clients into their firms).
When a busy woman goes to work she actually works. Busy women don't fuck about.

Lovelygoldboots Tue 22-Jan-13 14:28:08

Decades of feminism and fighting for equal pay and there will always be someone with the view that women are employment liability. Depressing.

Andro Tue 22-Jan-13 15:28:25

As a manager, I too have found that it's very difficult to have a rational discussion about the subject of parental leave/maternity leave/emergency leave - unfortunately this makes putting back up protocols in place very difficult!

Being a woman in a high level job I had never really considered the potential issues surrounding parental leave (a big failing on my part at the time), until over half of a specialist team told me they were pregnant...within a 3 day period. The fall out was immense and was, without a doubt, one of the biggest tests of my management skills. It takes 9-12 months to put a new employee through the required training courses, anti-natal appointments, chronic morning sickness etc meant that the workload on the other team members increased hugely and the resentment in the team was toxic.

I knew then that there needed to be protocols in place and back-up systems so that a similar situation didn't occur again. The is only so much we can do because not all areas can implement WAH or even flexi-time (business reasons), the right procedures make a huge difference though.

We are rightly concerned about equality in the workplace; we are not going to get there unless we can have some really honest discussions about the fears (rational of otherwise), misconceptions, business impact of leave etc and the management of the afore mentioned issues without fear of being branded sexist/exclusionist/misogynistic.

Andro Tue 22-Jan-13 15:30:47

It takes 9-12 months to put a new employee through the required training courses,

Should have said

It takes 9-12 months to put a new employee through the required training courses to take on this role.

ICBINEG Tue 22-Jan-13 21:00:31

I can see how maternity leave has been a problem in the past...but it will cease to exist soon. From that point there will only be 'baby leave' to contend with. Which may be taken by either parent making women of child bearing age and equal risk to men of childbearing age.

There is no problem being honest about the difficulties that small businesses face. Thinking you can avoid them by discrimination is massively unreasonable and somewhat stupid for all the reasons outlined in this thread.

ivykaty44 Wed 23-Jan-13 18:17:47

0blio Yes they do seem to want to and have blinkers on, but sadly they forget that if someone hasn't got morals outside of work then rarely will that change inside of work. So if things go horribly wrong for them they shouldn't be surprised. Legal bills can add up to far more than a couple of days of through snow or sickness of children....

ivykaty44 Wed 23-Jan-13 18:19:47

where I work there are three singles mothers and 6 married mothers. Guess which mothers have been in every day without fail and which have had time of with their dependants?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now