Can I apply for a fixed term contract when pregnant?

(34 Posts)
EreniTheFrog Tue 19-Jul-16 08:10:35

If appointed, I would start the job at around 10-12 weeks pregnant. The job is advertised to run until as-yet-unborn DC will be about a fortnight old. Going by previous pregnancies, I will need to go on mat leave at about 34 weeks, so would in effect need to leave the job 2 months early - I would therefore only be there 5-6 months.

Would it be illegal/unethical for me to apply?

Scarydinosaurs Tue 19-Jul-16 08:13:47

You should be practical- yes you're pregnant now, but I'm assuming you must be only in the first few weeks of pregnancy? There is nothing to say you will carry this baby to term. Sorry, it's the harsh reality. You need to make decisions for your career, not for a baby that is only in its first few weeks of conception.

People will come on and say 'how could you, it's dishonest, blah blah blah' but this is a decision for your career, women can become pregnant at any point- it's just part of employment.

OllyBJolly Tue 19-Jul-16 08:18:01

Of course you can.

Just as you could accept another job offer after a few weeks of starting, or take the contract and decide it's not for you. You have to do what is best for you.

As an employer, I would rather have a good committed employee for 6 months than a mediocre, uncaring employee for 12.

purits Tue 19-Jul-16 08:47:57

As an employer, I would rather have a good committed employee for 6 months than a mediocre, uncaring employee for 12.

Where did you get that from? Those aren't the only two options. An employer would rather have a good committed employee for the full term of the fixed contract, as per the job description.

My boss got shafted by someone like OP - it's not only that you will miss the last two months of the contract, it's all the ante-natal appointments too, all the HR hassle, the not doing the job properly because of baby-brain, etc, etc.
He no longer employs women of child-bearing age. If one of his existing employees became pregnant then that's a different story but he will no longer put himself in the position of being taken for a ride by someone he has only known for 5 minutes.

It's unethical and you will sour things for women who come after you.

OliviaStabler Tue 19-Jul-16 08:56:51

You can apply but it is dishonest. You know the length of time of the contract and you know you cannot see it through.

EreniTheFrog Tue 19-Jul-16 09:02:05

scary yes, that's definitely at the forefront of my thinking

everyone else thanks for your honesty. I am very, very undecided.

OllyBJolly Tue 19-Jul-16 09:06:31

not doing the job properly because of baby-brain Absolute offensive rot!

Where did you get that from? 35 years of HR, board level and managing director experience working with companies including BT, Virgin and some high performing SMEs.

My hiring mistakes have been mainly young males who happen to be unreliable attenders or they jump ship for a £2k pay rise. Just my experience. One woman I hired as a permanent payroll clerk- while pregnant - is now Group HR Director for a multi-national.

People resign from fixed term contracts and projects all the time. You can't exclude one sector of the workforce "just in case". There are no guarantees in recruitment.

venusinscorpio Tue 19-Jul-16 09:09:33

It's not unethical. What exactly do you expect her to do, not have a job for months? This is why we have equality legislation. She is as entitled to apply for a decent job as anyone else. Employers are required to fulfil their societal obligations. It's part of managing or owning a business.

venusinscorpio Tue 19-Jul-16 09:11:28

Ereni, go for it, without a second thought. And good luck!

OliviaStabler Tue 19-Jul-16 10:49:48

What exactly do you expect her to do, not have a job for months?

Of course not but I would expect someone to decide not to apply for a job that has a clear fixed term that they knowingly cannot complete.

purits Tue 19-Jul-16 11:46:39

Employers are required to fulfil their societal obligations. It's part of managing or owning a business.

Businesses are there to make a profit, they are not charities. Besides, if they have societal obligations then so does OP. She is as "entitled to apply for a decent job as anyone else" but she's not entitled to take a job in the foreknowledge that she will not fulfill the conditions - that's dishonest.

EreniTheFrog Tue 19-Jul-16 20:40:19

In my field at my level, though, the ONLY jobs advertised are fixed term contracts: 18 month is absolute max.

purits Tue 19-Jul-16 21:05:24

Did you hear this story today about Mrs Trump plagiarising Mrs Obama' speech.
Michelle said, "your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do. You treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them."
Do you agree with her or not?

museumum Tue 19-Jul-16 21:08:42

I would always expect somebody on a fixed term contract to be looking for a new job with a few months to go. Most I have employed or worked with leave with a month or two to go.

venusinscorpio Tue 19-Jul-16 22:37:25

Businesses may be there to make a profit, but maternity is a protected characteristic in equality legislation so OP is not required to put their needs before her own.

OllyBJolly Wed 20-Jul-16 08:52:11

Businesses exist to deliver shareholder value - that's the legal requirement of directors. Part of delivering that value is having an ethical code and hiring great people who can contribute. Excluding a section of talent from the workforce is short sighted.

Regarding the Michelle Obama quote, nobody goes for a permanent job committing to be there for the rest of their working life. At some point, that bond will be broken. Usually, the employee will resign or the employer will fire them. It's the same on a fixed term contract. If the employee didn't work out (possibly no fault of employee but badly composed job spec) then the employer breaks the bond.

That is just the nature of employment. All you can do is hire who you think will be the best person for the job. As a jobseeker in a competitive job market, you have to seek out the opportunities and grab them when they are there.

Scarydinosaurs Wed 20-Jul-16 08:56:26

pur so you should never ever take on employment if you intend to have children? All contracts contain clauses on maternity/paternity leave because employers have to reasonably expect both men and women to procreate.

It is insane to think women should NOT seek employment just because they are pregnant/intend to be pregnant. To suggest that it is unethical to do so is farcical.

TheresAlwaysTimeForTea Wed 20-Jul-16 08:57:04

I'm an employment lawyer. Just apply for the job if you feel you can work the majority of the contract. It is non of the employer's business at this stage. I wouldn't miss out on an opportunity at this stage in your pregnancy. Best of luck.

OliviaStabler Wed 20-Jul-16 09:10:43

In that case OP, go for the job. Good luck.

EreniTheFrog Wed 20-Jul-16 09:47:29

Still undecided. Ironically, the person spec for the job itself asks for evidence of "the ability to take bold decisions under pressure" grin.

But as I should have said at the outset, my options are basically to take a fixed-term contract or to stay out of work for the next 18 months or so.

Scarydinosaurs Wed 20-Jul-16 09:54:07

Erni apply for it, and then decide if you get offered the job. I'm sure it will be good for you to be employed and enjoy it up until you give birth, especially if you're intending to continue your career after your child is born.

unimagmative13 Wed 20-Jul-16 20:01:20

You leaving work at 34 weeks is not a solid factor in this.

As PP said, sorry to say it again, you may not carry baby to term or on the other hand you may be fit and well enough to see the contract out.

There's 3 outcomes there, 2 involve completing the job. So I would go for it.

unimagmative13 Wed 20-Jul-16 20:03:16

And as for that bolloxs about not employing people of a child bearing age. What's that then 16-45? As any of them could get pregnant!!

I started a new job 3 months after getting married- I'd say my boss would have suspected I would have had children at some point, but she still employed me!

GoodnightMittens Wed 20-Jul-16 20:06:14

Go for it without a second's further thought OP. YWB perfectly ethical and legal to do this. Good luck!

AnotherEmma Wed 20-Jul-16 20:06:31

OP, it would not be illegal for you to apply for the job.

"He no longer employs women of child-bearing age."
Now that IS illegal. It's sex discrimination. Congratulations, purits, for working for a sexist, discriminatory employer, and being so proud of his attitude that you are endorsing it on a forum that is predominantly for mothers hmm

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