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To think it's sexist to complain about women taking maternity leave?

(117 Posts)
novemberblue Mon 03-Nov-14 18:37:12

Name changed.

I'm a teacher. Quite a few women have gone off on maternity leave.

I'm shocked by the responses colleagues make! They regularly complain and say things like, she's only just had one, wish I got paid to be off for a year and one woman has four children and they say she's out more than she's in.

Aibu to think it's sexist and out of order?

LaurieFairyCake Mon 03-Nov-14 18:40:51


JackShit Mon 03-Nov-14 18:42:57

If it's small age gaps and someone having 3/4/5 children I can see how it could rankle tbh.

Firbolg Mon 03-Nov-14 18:43:05

Of course it's sexist. Challenge, challenge, challenge.

bearleftmonkeyright Mon 03-Nov-14 18:43:52


MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Mon 03-Nov-14 18:44:32


These children will be the ones funding their pensions and providing vital services and infrastructure in 30 years and they can only do that once they are born and that means their mothers taking maternity leave.

Ask them for an alternative to women having babies and taking leave. That usually throws them a bit!

Purplepoodle Mon 03-Nov-14 18:46:54

Yanbu BUT it can be a pita if your the one having to cover their workload too and make you feel utterly disgruntled. We are are very lucky to have a year off and I do think there should be a ruling that you have to be in work a year before you can qualify for your next set of maternity pay. One of my ex work mates really worked the system. She did four planned pregnancies back to back (with enough return to work each time to qualify for enhanced maternity pay) then worked 3 months after her last pregnancy then quit. No intention to stay in work but wanted to get max pay while having children.

zeezeek Mon 03-Nov-14 18:47:42

Yes, it is sexist. But sometimes lots of women from one organisation going off on maternity leave at the same time will have an impact on the others left behind and that, unfortunately, will piss people off and can destabilise a company. My eldest DDs teacher was off for a large part of last year (she was in year 1) and we did see a change in her progress.

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 03-Nov-14 18:49:22

I can see how having 3/4 children in quick succession would get on other colleagues nerves. Male or female.

BackforGood Mon 03-Nov-14 18:50:20

Not going to be popular on here, but I think if people take a year, then another year, then a third, all following on, then no, I don't think it is sexist at all - it's a comment that it doesn't seem right to hold a job and not come in for more than about 4 months over a 3 yr period.

If you are having to cover their workload (will get a supply in for the actual teaching hours but they won't all take on the full workload, and shouldn't be expected to - that's the advantage of being on supply) then you've a right to feel miffed.

itsbetterthanabox Mon 03-Nov-14 18:51:35

What needs to be done is a cultural shift that sees men do much more childcare. If men took off some of the time as women do this wouldn't be seen as a reason not to hire women. Child rearing should not be solely up to women and shouldn't only be women that need to leave work to care for them.

Theherbofdeath Mon 03-Nov-14 18:52:54

A whole year off is a long time. I think it used to be 6 weeks. In the US it's nothing? So saying that disagreeing with what the UK happens to allow women at the moment is sexist seems a bit silly.

ApocalypseThen Mon 03-Nov-14 18:53:47

If maternity leave impacts other employees, that's because of terrible management. Women should take their maternity leave and should certainly not be under pressure to decide the number and spacing of their children to compensate management for poor practice.

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 03-Nov-14 18:55:04

It was 12 weeks in the late 80's theher

A year is fine, no problem with it, i don't think so many women actually take the full year. Most I know take 6 months.

But having children back to back and leaving colleagues to pick up the slack is going to wind people up.

Cherrypi Mon 03-Nov-14 18:55:33

Surely the amount of women who take four consecutive maternity leaves is tiny and aren't women more loyal employees overall statistically?

WooWooOwl Mon 03-Nov-14 18:56:18

It's not sexist, the same would be said of men doing exactly the same thing if they had the benefit of the right anatomy.

I think it's fair to complain about someone going off on maternity leave four times in quick succession.

Taking two or more lots of maternity leave in a short space of time is fine if you're then going to go on to work at the same place for years, but otherwise I think it's out of order.

seesensepeople Mon 03-Nov-14 18:56:48

YANBU Negative comments from an employer about a woman taking maternity leave is sex discrimination under the law. Management tolerance of such comments by employees is also sex discrimination. It's just as unacceptable as comments about someone's race, sexual orientation or any disability.

PetulaGordino Mon 03-Nov-14 18:57:47


rosdearg Mon 03-Nov-14 18:58:08

also "paid"? You need to explain to whoever is talking about "being paid for a year" how SMP works.

I work for a US company. When I came back from maternity leave I had lots of snippy comments from women in the US who hadn't had the chance to take the time off that I had. I asked them if they wished they could have and they all said yes. So I thought (did not dare say!) "if you wish you could have it, you need not to internalise contempt for those who are lucky enough to have it."
The snottiness, hints that we are lazy and spoiled... all stems from a deep envy that they had to either dash back to work or lose their jobs.
And fight! honour what you wish you had, and fight for it!

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 03-Nov-14 18:59:10

Surely it depends on what exactly the people are moaning about.

HesterShaw Mon 03-Nov-14 18:59:26

YANBU but it can be a real headache for those left behind. We had an NQT go off on maternity once after three months in the new job - this was a planned pregnancy. We know that because she told us. Her poor Y5 class was a mess.

And I can see how it would piss colleagues off if someone is already pregnant coming back from one ML.

It's not right, but that's how it is.

zeezeek Mon 03-Nov-14 19:00:06

Like everything else, a few people who blatantly take the piss give everyone a bad name.

PercyHorse Mon 03-Nov-14 19:00:14

'It's not sexist, the same would be said of men doing exactly the same thing if they had the benefit of the right anatomy.'

sexism: Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex

sex: Either of the two main categories (male and female) into which humans and most other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions

scurryfunge Mon 03-Nov-14 19:01:48

I don't know any of my close peers at work who have multiple maternity leave. Most have no children, one or sometimes two with a big age gap. It's not an issue in my work place but doesn't stop the men moaning about free money. My profession is notoriously difficult to manage childcare due to demanding shift work.

ApocalypseThen Mon 03-Nov-14 19:02:35

Like everything else, a few people who blatantly take the piss give everyone a bad name.

You really think people should consider their colleagues when planning their family? Well, women only, of course.

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