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MNHQ here: 'Pregnant then Screwed' is launching a campaign (and inviting you to a march on Halloween) - tell us what you think

(159 Posts)
RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 10-Oct-17 13:18:41


Some of you will know of the campaign group Pregnant then Screwed, which came to prominence a few years ago by highlighting women's experiences of pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace.

On Halloween, they're holding marches in locations across the UK (London, Belfast, Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow) to 'demand recognition, respect and change for working mums'. In deference to the day, they're inviting people to turn up dressed as mummies - the Walking Dead kind.

Here are the changes they're calling for. We know that in the past MNers have expressed support for more and better exclusive, paid paternity leave - but we'd love to know what you think about this list:

1) Increase the time limit to raise a tribunal claim from 3 months to (at least) 6 months for pregnant and postpartum women.

2) Require companies to report on how many flexible working requests are made and how many are granted.

3) Give fathers access to 6 weeks non-transferable paternity leave paid at 90% of salary.

4) Give the self-employed access to statutory shared parental pay.

5) Subsidise childcare from 6 months old, rather than 3 years old.

Over to you - and if you'd like to join the march you can find all the details here.


OP’s posts: |
backOffSunshine Tue 10-Oct-17 14:00:00

1) Perhaps. I would want a blanket raise as opposed to simply for women.

2) No. Why? I assume that this is so women can somehow boycott working for a company with ratios they deem unacceptable. They'll then complain that x company has an unfair ratio of male employees; it's disingenuous.

3) Perhaps. I'd like to know what the knock-on effects and costs of this would be.

4) No. Part and parcel of self-employment is preparing for such eventualities.

5) No. It would cost a fortune and I believe in either having children you can afford or, if you can't afford them, don't have them. This isn't sexism or the patriarchy. I don't want state-sponsored parenting on such a large scale.

I may have marched for #1 but I'll be busy trick and treating. It seems like a strange choice of date. Guaranteed minimum coverage? Is the next on Dec 25th?

EvilDoctorBallerinaVampireDuck Tue 10-Oct-17 14:16:38

You'll really be trick or treating at 12 noon?

I'll check out buses back home, I might get back before the school run.

backOffSunshine Tue 10-Oct-17 14:18:46

I misread the time.

Vaguely ironically, I'll be working then! Won't most people?

Certainly those with an interest in these 'reforms' will be.

Mindingourgap Tue 10-Oct-17 14:32:00

It's not as black and white as those whom it affects will be I work at midday on a Tuesday. For those who are working in the march cities they could attend in their lunch breaks
Some of those marching want to be in the position where they can work but:
1. Cannot afford the childcare
2. Have lost a job after becoming pregnant
3. Have had to give up their job due to the inflexible nature of many companies
Thus the very reasons for the march taking place

incisive Tue 10-Oct-17 14:35:34

I'll be there with bells on. Literally. Although I'll be working that day, rather happily I'm contractually entitled to take a lunch break, so will put it to good use.

I'm a huge proponent of demand 5. I don't believe in 'state-sponsored parenting' but I do believe in genuine state support. As a mum to two children living in the South East, my nursery costs before my eldest started school were £3400 per month, meaning that I had to earn a salary of £57,000 gross just to cover childcare! That figure would actually have put me in the top 10% of earners - I'm not sure anyone wants to live in a world where only the richest 10% can procreate, do they? Trump Planet??

JoeliBrearley1 Tue 10-Oct-17 14:57:02

Hi @backoffsunshine I am one of the organisers of the march so I wanted to respond directly to some of your thoughts above.

1) The reason why we have asked for this specifically for pregnant and postpartum women is that many laws do allow much longer time for tribunal claims. Unfortunately for pregnancy and maternity discrimination it is only 3 months which can be impossible for women when they are pregnant or have just had a baby. I was sacked when I was 4 months pregnant and then discovered I was having a high risk pregnancy. Had I tried to take my employer to tribunal at that time it would have risked the health of my unborn child but I only had 3 months so it meant I could not access the justice I deserved

2) Both women and men seek flexibility. In fact a recent report by the Government showed that 81% of generation Z look for flexibility when they are job hunting. This is an issue that affects both genders.

3) Yes there will be costs but do you not think that it is fair that both parents have equality in terms of pay and leave?

4) To give the self employed access ti shared parental pay would be no cost to the Government. Currently the Government only pays self employed women to take time out to care for children. If they could access shared parental pay then women who need to go back to work can and the father could pick up where they left off. This would mean the father accesses the money that would have been given to the mother therefore there are no additional costs. The current set up places the entire burden of childcare with the mother. If you are self employed it is particularly difficult as no-one is keeping a job open for you so the self employed need this, some would argue, more than the employed do.

5) The Women's Equality Party has worked wit the Women's Budget Group to show that this scheme would pay for itself as more parents would be able to work. There are currently 2.2 million stay at home parents, 60% of those would like to get back to work.

I hope these answer some of your points.

Thanks, Joeli

backOffSunshine Tue 10-Oct-17 14:57:28


If childcare was truly unaffordable then prices would drop.

Very basic supply and demand.

JoeliBrearley1 Tue 10-Oct-17 15:06:24

@backoffsunshine - just to respond to your 'supply and demand' comment. The Uk has the most expensive childcare in the world! Childcare in the majority of countries is subsidised to prevent it from being prohibitively expensive. Childcare providers cannot drop their costs as they are real costs so we need the Government to step in. The stats show that you need to earn, on average £40k a year to be able to afford one child in childcare. Do you think that is affordable? We don't. Not when the average salary is £27,600

backOffSunshine Tue 10-Oct-17 15:18:19


1) Ignoring the assumption that you would have had a successful tribunal, I can't think of any good reason for there not being an equal statute of limitations in any kind of employment tribunal so if the march has any kind of success, I hope #1 is addressed.

2) of course GenZ does. Was it 7 year olds that were surveyed or the older (teenage) ones?

3) No. Men and women aren't the same and life isn't fair. Ignoring or failing to explain the costs and talking about fairness doesn't seem mature, reasoned or a valid place from which to argue.

4) I don't think the government should pay any self-employed parent -nity leave so can hardly bring myself to support a rejigging of this.

5) They sound like incredibly biased sources and not the kind of group I would like to be associated with. Of the 60% you mention, how many actually would?

Of course childcare providers can drop their costs. This is an area I do know and understand.

I'll take your uncited "stats" as true, for the sake of this. If a child in full time childcare is so expensive, there's a very easy solution; one parent is a full time parent and the other works. Call me traditional (although my DH took 3 years off work when DC2 was born) but if that works well for children as well as the finances of a family, the alternative solution is a hard-left socialist approach where you have a child, wait for the government to write you a cheque for their care and then you go back to work.

I don't think that affording children should be for the elite but I also don't think that having children is a 'right' and that anyone should expect the government to support their decision to procreate. Why should they?

WishfulThanking Tue 10-Oct-17 15:21:27

I think all five requests are great and very much needed. I like your reply to BackOffSunshine. You have answered her points very well.

WishfulThanking Tue 10-Oct-17 15:23:20

backoffsunshine I am interested to know why you think self-employed people shouldn't be entitled to shared parental care? Why do you think childcare should all fall to the woman?

MrsWobble3 Tue 10-Oct-17 15:30:14

I think it fair for the self employed to have the same parental benefits if they pay the same level of NI. If they don't, as at present, then the argument is much less clear. I don't know how much support there would be for equalisation on both points.

backOffSunshine Tue 10-Oct-17 15:34:41


Because you usually contribute less. Therefore, you deserve less back.

LateToTheParty Tue 10-Oct-17 15:40:25

All for this, although I'm not likely to be able to physically take part on this occasion.

Can the remit be extended to adoptive parents too? I was demoted in all but name during my first adoption leave and pretty sure I was managed out during my second; my redundancy was scored on the basis of being absent for the previous 12+ months.

I felt too demoralised and couldn't afford the fees required at the time to take the company to tribunal.

Nature of adoption in the UK means very short timescales between social workers confirming a match with an adoptive child/ren and their placement with you (usually a matter of weeks or even days) and also adoptive parents are usually required to agree to take the full 12 months in order to be approved at panel in the first place, which with annual leave and bank holidays added on at either the end or beginning, means being away from the work place for nearly 14 months. It was the right thing to do both times for my children, who had already been through so much in their short lives, and needed the stability in their new family and new home, but it's done my career no good at all.

JoeliBrearley1 Tue 10-Oct-17 15:49:16

@backoffsunshine Okay, you are right, many of my stats were not cited so I will change that now:
* 84% of generation Z and millennials seek flexibility when job hunting and the UK economy would be £165 million richer/more productive if all businesses got on board (Government’s capital and wellbeing report 2017)
* 2.2 million people stay at home to look after children, 60% of whom are looking to get back to work (My Family Care Survey 2015)
* Underutilisation of women's skills costs the UK economy £36 Billion (Government research report from women and equalities select committee)

If we can fix the gender stereotype which dictates that women should be at home looking after children then we can start utilising women's skills more - hence why we want enhanced paternity leave - just like they have in Sweden which has a very strong economy.

Can I just ask - you think it is okay to pay self employed women maternity leave but not self employed men?

These changes may have an initial outlay but other countries have shown that they have a hugely positive effect on the economy. Forcing women to stay at home to look after children as they can't afford childcare and they can't get flexible working and because they are facing discrimination in the workplace is not a solution. If all women stayed at home to look after children our economy would be a complete mess. We need mothers to be enabled to work for the benefit of everyone.

JoeliBrearley1 Tue 10-Oct-17 15:51:41

@Mrswobble3 and @backoffsunshine. The self employed already get less. They receive maternity allowance rather than Statutory maternity pay (works out at about £5k less). All we are asking for is that self employed fathers can also receive an allowance if they become the main carer.

JoeliBrearley1 Tue 10-Oct-17 15:58:02

@latetotheparty - absolutely - all of our demands are relevant for both adoptive parents and same sex couples. We would also hope they work for single parents - in the case of demand 3 we would like to see those with sole custody of a child be able to access 12 weeks leave at 90% of pay. I am sorry to hear you have had so many problems

WishfulThanking Tue 10-Oct-17 16:02:29


Minimum wage earners pay less in too. Are you saying they shouldn't get maternity benefits? hmm

LateToTheParty Tue 10-Oct-17 16:09:30

@JoeliBrearley1 thank you

backOffSunshine Tue 10-Oct-17 16:14:48


Can I just ask - you think it is okay to pay self employed women maternity leave but not self employed men?

No. As I said, "I don't think the government should pay any self-employed parent -nity leave so can hardly bring myself to support a re-jigging of this."

Forcing women to stay at home to look after children

I've mentioned the alternative. Condoms, abstinence, a husband who stays at home. I don't think there should be women-only benefits.

We need mothers to be enabled to work for the benefit of everyone.

I'm stupidly jetlagged and sleep-deprived but confused.

If childcare is so expensive - and you said can't be lowered in price due to overheads - why does the government paying it make it better for the economy?

Either parents contribute more to the economy working than staying at home and can afford child care or they don't and this is redistribution of wealth. Where am I misunderstanding the situation.

You are making some good points and making me question my views but I dislike the notion that anyone decides to get pregnant and then complains about financial support (or lack of it); the 'name' of the march.

You aren't looking to fix stereotypes (surely sex, not gender. MN'ers fucking hate stories like "first pregnant man"), you're looking to redirect scarce resources to pay for parents / mothers to return to work. In a capitalist or free market, if their output is worth more than childcare, they don't need state intervention. If their output isn't then they need to accept that and enjoy time with their children.

Any form of subsidised childcare is pitying and more like a patronising pat on the head than anything else.

Fruu Tue 10-Oct-17 16:41:37

Is there any way those of us who can't go could show solidarity, e.g. a linked petition or infographic to share to social media? I'm currently housebound with PGP!

1) Six months should be the minimum - longer would be better! My redundancy during maternity leave was not handled correctly, but as my baby was only a month old and I was recovering from birth trauma and an EMCS when the 3 months ran out, there was no way I could realistically have pursued a claim. PND or other issues and just the general pressures of caring for a newborn must be a huge barrier to raising a discrimination case in a timely fashion.

3) Again I think this should be a minimum, but it's a start. If fathers legally had totally equal access to a shared pool of maternity/paternity leave and pay there would be less reason to discriminate against mothers. Ideally I would prefer if there were a set number of months calculated on the employment status and pay of both parents that could be taken by either parent or shared between them. I think there needs to be more flexibility to allow men to take time off if their partner is a SAHM, or for both parents to be able to take time off together - the current arrangement where maternity leave can be transferred to the father doesn't allow for these scenarios.

I think there should also be better provision for fathers to take time off for antenatal appointments if desired. If there are any complications going on that involve extra tests and monitoring it can be very stressful if the father is excluded because he can't get away from work, and again better equality of time off would mean there is less reason to discriminate against women.

JoeliBrearley1 Tue 10-Oct-17 16:50:07

@Fruu thank you for asking! Yes there is. We are asking people to post either a picture of their feet or a video of their feet walking and to say 'I am marching with @Pregnant_Then_Screwed (instagram) or @pregnantscrewed (Twitter) or @maternitydiscrimination (Facebook) #Marchofthemummies' - then anything else you would like to add. If you could do that on 31st October at 12 midday that would be super! Anything you would like to say to support the march in advance would also be appreciated. I have also attached our logo for the event.

So sorry to hear you are housebound - fingers crossed for a quick recovery x

JoeliBrearley1 Tue 10-Oct-17 16:58:41

@backofsunshine - I think there are areas we can agree, and areas which we will not agree on, but just to give my perspective on a couple of things you mention above. RE the self employed - I don't think it is fair that they should not have access to any parental leave pay when the employed do. The self employed do pay into the system. They are also the lifeblood of our economy (as referred to by the Government Supporting parents through this period means they can do the valuable work of caring to support their newborn - should it be like America where one in four women have to go back to work after 2 weeks? This would have a hugely negative impact on our next generation.

If we subsidise childcare it would mean more women are able to work. This doesn't just have a good impact on our economy at that point (as more women are paying tax) but it has a long term benefit for women and our economy. If you take a long period out of work - 4 years if you are waiting for them to go to school - then that means you return to work at a much lower status and pay grade so it has a negative impact on your long term earnings, affecting how much you are paying into the system and your pension when you are older. By the time a woman's first child is 12 years old, her hourly pay rate is 33% behind mens (IFS If we can fix some of the problems that prevent mothers working then that will start to fix the gender pay gap which would have a positive effect on our economy and women's long term earnings.

Unihorn Tue 10-Oct-17 17:36:42

I absolutely would support increased paternity leave. For those of us who suffered traumatic births it would've been incredibly helpful for my husband to have been entitled to more leave rather than taking his holidays.

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