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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.

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.

KeemaNaanAndCurryOn Mon 21-Jan-13 20:03:15

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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?

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