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Realistically, is it likely that you'll lose your job if you get pregnant in your probationary period?

(23 Posts)
Chocolocolate Tue 21-Dec-10 23:58:04

I ask as I have been ttc conceive for a while now and have just been offered a dream job to start in February.

My mother says that there is a chance that, although they cannot sack you for getting pregnant, they may make things 'difficult' for you early on and then come up with another reason for sacking such as "Not living up to expectations."

Realistically - is this a possibility?

TheSecondComing Wed 22-Dec-10 00:07:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Chocolocolate Wed 22-Dec-10 00:21:49

Oh dear.

My mother believes that this does happen in her company.

LadyLapsang Wed 22-Dec-10 09:13:13

Can you afford to stop TTC timewise until you have passed probation in the new job?

CharlotteBronteSaurus Wed 22-Dec-10 09:18:43

I got pg within 5 weeks of starting a new job. it was a medical miracle totally unplanned but obviously that makes no difference to an employer.

My experience was very positive. Everyone was hugely supportive,despite my pregnancy meaning there were key parts of my job I could no longer do, due to health and safety concerns. It is probably worth noting that this is in the public sector, where equality issues tend to be taken more seriously, IME.

hermioneweasley Wed 22-Dec-10 12:23:20

it depends entirely on the employer. if theyre not very sympathetic (and realistically even the nicest employer is not going to be doing cartwheels at this news) then they might find a reason that it's not working out. The probationary period is a bit of a red herring - you have very few employment rights in the first 12 months (though obviously that doesn't include pregnancy related discrimination)and they could let you go pretty easily. with so little track record under your belt, there are any number of things they can use to justify why it wasn't to do with your pregnancy, but for other reasons. (clearly it wasn't pregnancy related, but my brother failed his probationary period because there wasn't enough 'buzz' - how do you quantify that?!).

if you really want this job, I would put off TTC unless you're prepared to lose the job.

StillSquiffy Wed 22-Dec-10 12:24:28

TBH I think it veyr much depends on size of organisation. Larger org = professional HR and split between owners/HR function = much more likely for it to be considered 'one of those things'. smaller org - could be tricky.

CrystalQueen Wed 22-Dec-10 12:32:26

At my work you need to have been here for 6 months (I think) to qualify for anything more than statutory maternity pay.

flowerytaleofNewYork Wed 22-Dec-10 19:40:26

How long is your probationary period? If it's only 3 months then the likelihood of you needing to tell anyone before you've passed your probation is minimal I would have thought - even if it's six months you'd need to get pregnant straightaway for it to be an issue.

Chocolocolate Thu 23-Dec-10 16:33:15

I can't really afford to stop ttc (complicated medical reasons that mean the sooner the better).

If it came down to it and I had to pick ttc or job I would pick ttc, but then I may not get pregnant for a long time anyway.

If I was really lucky I could get pregnant this month and so would be 2 months along by the time that I start. However, I could not get pregnant for months. My probation period is 3 months.

I think I'll really love the job and that I will be good at it, whereas where I am now - I'm just doing it for the money.

The company that I will be moving to is a big company that has won awards for 'employee fairness' so I thought that would be a positive but my mum still thinks they will sack me.

We could manage if I got sacked, money-wise, but I was hoping for people to tell me that this was unlikely - I suppose not.

flowerytaleofNewYork Thu 23-Dec-10 16:54:35

I think it is unlikely actually. Most companies these days are not stupid enough to sack someone immediately they mention they are pregnant. I think your mum is wrong in that sense. Of course it's possible but most employers are aware that you need to be careful around pregnant employees, or at least aware enough to check first. Plus it's unlikely you are going to be pregnant enough to have a huge bump before the end of a short probationary period, so probably won't need to tell them anyway.

EdgarAleNPie Thu 23-Dec-10 16:59:38

you would be unlikely to show much in the first 3 months - srely? or how long is the probationary period?

llareggub Thu 23-Dec-10 17:01:53

I'd have to agree with Flowery on this one. My mother is full of doom about discriminatory workplaces, formed mainly by her experiences in the 1970s. Things have changed since then, either because employers want to recruit and retain the best, or, are seeking to comply with the legislation to protect pregnant employees.

There are, of course, still dodgy employers out there. If you are unlucky enough to find yourself in one during your probationary period then I'm guessing that you wouldn't want to remain employed them anyway after your maternity leave, as they are unlikely to be sympathetic to flexible working.

Good luck!

suwoo Thu 23-Dec-10 17:03:31

I was sacked for 'poor performance' in my probationary period after announcing my pregnancy. They were proper dodgy twats though.

EdgarAleNPie Thu 23-Dec-10 17:06:06

my point: no need to tell them to begin with anyway.

Chocolocolate Thu 23-Dec-10 17:14:31

My mother is basing her opinions on what has happened to employees recently in her company. I think that, by the sounds of some of the things that have happened in her company lately, her company is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

I'm hoping that the company that I will be working for will not be like that. They seem great on paper (their website has a big section about how generous they are with maternity/flexibility etc. - although this isn't the reason I applied for the job) and in real life (e.g. at the interview).

The application process was really competitive and I'm so pleased to have been offered the position - I suppose that it will be a risk, but a risk that I will take.

If I work really well in my probationary period and get a good review after the 3 months (and don't let them know that I'm pregnant until after the 3 months) - will it be more difficult for them to sack me for poor performance later?

Chocolocolate Thu 23-Dec-10 17:17:19

If I get pregnant before I start I know that I won't qualify for SMP - I'm much more bothered about keeping the job.

EdgarAleNPie Thu 23-Dec-10 17:25:58

simple: no need to tell them anything until you've had your 20 week anomaly scan. much more than 3 months. ost people don't tell friends until 12 week is up anyway.

and yes with a good performance review on record - much harder to give you the push.

MollieO Thu 23-Dec-10 17:33:56

For various reasons I didn't tell my work I was pregnant until I was 25 weeks. No one guessed. I dressed in the same type of clothes albeit one size bigger. I also had severe morning sickness but took no time off and controlled it by simply not eating at work. If you want to keep it quiet it is hard work but doable.

Chocolocolate Fri 24-Dec-10 19:16:50

Thanks everyone,

MollieO how did your employer react when you informed them how far along in your pregnancy you were?

Are employers likely to become hostile if you don't tell them until later in the pregnancy?

MollieO Sat 25-Dec-10 08:22:03

They were really shocked. I didn't tell because I was waiting to here about an internal job transfer that had been proposed and not finalised. I waited until I legally had to tell them and the job transfer disappeared. Very unchildfriendly company so I knew my proposed promotion would be gone if not confirmed before I disclosed my news. I went back for a year after ML and then was headhunted for a new job with a big salary increase.

PinkElephantsOnParade Sun 02-Jan-11 15:42:40

The probationary period is not an issue here. You have minimal employment protection for the first 12 months, but you are protected from being sacked for being pregnant. But remember you would need to be able to prove this was the reason.

Most sensible companies would not risk sacking a pregnant woman, but some would. But you would not want to work for those companies.

flowerytaleofNewYork Sun 02-Jan-11 17:56:04

It's not an issue in terms of rights, but I think it could well be an issue in terms of how likely it is.

Imagine two scenarios - in the first someone has just passed her probation with flying colours, no issues around performance and praise aplenty, then has announced she is pregnant. Very difficult to pretend termination was for any other reason.

Scenario two, someone has been there a couple of weeks, not settled in the job yet, and announces she is pregnant. There is 2.5 months left of probationary period, enough time to scrutinise performance, change the goalposts a bit with regard to expectations and at least attempt to justify a dismissal on other grounds.

Both scenarios are equally illegal, but proving it would be much more difficult in scenario two.

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