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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Message withdrawn at poster's request.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.

NeverQuiteSure Mon 21-Jan-13 18:35:17

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.

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