Azara Blog: Pregnant women being sacked

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Date published: 2005/06/30

The BBC says:

Tens of thousands of women are forced out of their jobs each year for being pregnant, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has said.

These women miss out on £12m in statutory maternity pay, while employers spend £126m replacing them, the EOC added.

The EOC added that upwards of a million pregnant women will face workplace discrimination in the next five years.

Women must be better informed of their workplace rights, the group added.

"Pregnancy discrimination has a huge impact on their lives, but the harm it does to our economy affects us all," Jenny Watson, acting chair of the EOC, said.

"It's time for honesty about the scale of the problem. Employers - particularly small businesses - need more help in managing pregnancy at work."

Roughly 30,000 women a year lose their jobs because of pregnancy, but only 3% lodge a complaint at a tribunal, the EOC said.

About 200,000 pregnant women - or nearly half of those who work whilst pregnant - feel they have suffered some form of discrimination.

Of course the EOC has to justify its existence by finding discrimination anywhere and everywhere. The estimate of 30000 is exactly that, an estimate. And if 200000 pregnant women "feel they have suffered some form of discrimination" then how many non-pregnant women feel this way, and how many men feel this way? You would soon find that almost everybody feels this way (if you ask the question in the right way, which of course the EOC would have).

The EOC is also being one-sided. They say employers spend £126m replacing these workers versus £12m in statutory maternity pay, but how much would the employers had to have spent if these women were not fired? Unfortunately the EOC would like to pretend this side of the equation does not exist, so their views are completely partisan and hence ignorable.

Perhaps Jenny Watson should get a real job, running a small business, and then see what life is like in the real world.

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