From our Swindon Correspondent:
So who is going to get the push?
He also talked of hopes for all fathers to have the right to two weeks’ paternity leave at 90% full pay and a change in the law to ensure new or expectant mothers cannot be made redundant during pregnancy or maternity leave.
Hmmm. I can’t help but wonder if this is required because of another government law, the one that allows women to take up to 12 months unpaid leave while their job is kept open for them.
To anyone not in the know, women can take up to 12 months unpaid leave after birth. But they don’t have to tell you in advance that they’re going to do it, or the duration. This adds a cost to employers. They have to backfill staff with temps, who not only cost more, but add a cost of training and handover (and then the same when the original employee returns).
So, the government have created a huge incentive, if a company has to make redundancies, to get rid of the pregnant women as they’re going to be a bigger cost.
What’s going to happen if you stop employers making pregnant women redundant? Are they going to just roll over and accept it, or are they going to respond to incentives? This probably makes things worse. A lot of women don’t return to work, or return part-time. So, you have a team of 5 people. You have to make someone redundant. It now has to be the man or non-pregnant woman. That takes you down to 4. But you know that in 3 months, you’ll be losing that person anyway, or half their time. You’ll be understaffed. You now have recruitment costs to hire a new employee.
The rational response to this is that employers are going to avoid hiring women of a certain age. Yes, a garage owner hiring a 45 year old lady with a house full of cats over a recently married 28 year old because of her age is illegal, but try proving it.