Tuesday 6 August 2013

Maternity leave and being pregnant in the workplace… do you know your rights?

When I was pregnant with Bug my job came to an end and with a number of months to go until my maternity leave started I hoped to find a new job for the meantime.  During that time I applied for a host of jobs and with it nearing Christmas I thought it would be perfect if I could find a seasonal vacancy as the job would naturally come to an end just before my maternity leave started and I would not feel like I was letting an employer down by starting a job to only have to go on maternity leave a matter of months later.

A dilemma I had when attending interviews was whether I should mention the fact that I was pregnant or not, especially as I was concerned that my growing baby bump would highlight the fact that I was pregnant whether I mentioned it or not.  In the end I decided that honesty was the best policy and informed potential employers of my pregnancy during interviews as I knew it would have to discussed in a matter of weeks when I approached my 25th week of pregnancy if I got a job.  I was pleasantly surprised by the response I got during interviewers and did not feel that I was being discriminated against and not considered for the job because of my pregnancy.

Even though I had a positive experience with potential employers when I informed them of my pregnancy during interviews I was very worried about raising the matter and thought that it would negatively affect my chances of getting a job.

After my experiences of being pregnant whilst working and also looking for a job whilst pregnant I can sympathise and relate to the concerns other pregnant women have about working or looking for work whilst pregnant especially as there can be a preconception that employers will not responded positively to a pregnancy announcement. 

I think part of the worry about pregnancy and the workplace that expectant mothers suffer from is due to the fact that they are not fully aware of the rights about being pregnant in the workplace and maternity leave.  I know that when I first became pregnant even my employer at the time was not fully aware of the rights of a pregnant woman in the workplace having never had a pregnant employee before and I was definitely ill formed of my rights and struggled to find information that would help me know my rights. 

As I hope to get pregnant again when I came across an infographic about Maternity Rights in the UK I was keen to gain knowledge about maternity rights so that hopefully when I get pregnant I am better informed.  After being ill formed about my rights and having struggled to access knowledge about my rights when I was pregnant with Bug, I wanted to share the infographic that highlights interesting facts about maternity rights in the UK to help raise awareness of what women are entitled to so that other women are not ill formed like I was.

The infographic was created by Quality Solicitors using the results of a recent survey they conducted where 1000 women who had children or wanted children in the future were asked about their understanding of maternity rights and experience of maternity in the workplace.  Quality Solicitor have compiled a wealth of helpful information about Maternity Rights on their website with information and free guides for both employees and employers available to access.

The survey had some very interesting results, highlighting that ‘42% of women are concerned about taking maternity leave’ and that ’45.9% think employers could do more to support employees on maternity/parental leave’.  Also the survey resulted in the shocking statistic that ‘46% had their employment terminated after divulging pregnancy’.  The infographic highlights key information about maternity rights in the UK and focuses on key statistics from the survey.

The wealth of information on the Quality Solictiors about maternity rights has been very informative for me allowing me to feel better informed for when we are blessed with another pregnancy and I was pleased to learn in particular from the infograph that ‘fathers are now entitled to Additional Parental Leave after the mother has returned to work’.

What is your experience of being pregnant in the workplace and maternity leave?  Do you know your maternity rights? 

Help raise awareness about maternity rights by sharing the infograph.

*  This is a collaborative post with hirebloggers.co.uk *

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