On air: Should your boss know your family plans?

Natasha Kaplinsky, Britain’s highest paid newsreader, has caused a stir by announcing that she’s pregnant 6 weeks into securing a one million pound a year contract. Is she, and other women letting down the sisterhood and making it harder for women to succeed in the workplace? Or is there a danger that if women tell their boss, they could be overlooked for promotion?

Hi It’s Karnie..just wanted to add to Chloe’s topic whilst on the subject of working mums..The ff story has caught my eye: 

Some Companies in the US are allowing new mothers to bring their babies to work.  The general rule is the babies are welcome until they are old enough to crawl. Mothers keep them in right next to their desks, and either breast-feed them right there, if they have enough privacy, or else take them to a special room.  They are even allowed into meeting rooms.  My question is:  Should mothers be allowed to take their babies to work?

131 Responses to “On air: Should your boss know your family plans?”

  1. 1 Brett
    April 7, 2008 at 13:55

    I can certainly see the arguments on both sides of this one. I think if you have absolute trust in your employer and employee relationship, you should be able to discuss these things with your employer without out of line negative reprocussions while also understanding the employers position that extended leave will have an impact on the company.
    It is quite selfish to think that the required time off from having a baby will not impact the company in some way. Again, it is quite selfish for the company to not take into account the needs and wants of their employees. But you have to be honest and upfront with your employer.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  2. April 7, 2008 at 14:09

    ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! It is none of their business, in any way shape or form, until it happens. If want one, i’m having one, and if the employer fires me for it, He will be seeing me every court in the land. Employers have NO RIGHT to even ask the question.

  3. 3 Zita
    April 7, 2008 at 14:51

    Hi Ros!
    This is a difficult one. In principle the employer accepts that a young woman can have a baby. When they higher them, they are in fact taking the risk. But I do think that in a case like the one you mention, it is rather unfair for a person to take a high profile job and six weeks into it announce they are pregnant. In the majority of cases the employer has made provision for this and is able to absorb the average wages bill in these cases. But one million is hardly average. I wouldn’t be able to live with it if I was the woman. Yes it is true that cases like this make it difficult for women in general to face this problem.

  4. 4 gary
    April 7, 2008 at 14:52

    Hello All,
    Absolutely not! Pregnancy is a private event. Employers need not be informed of “intentions” to become so. Besides; most employers should know from where their customers come by now.

  5. 5 John in Salem
    April 7, 2008 at 14:52

    Women should have the sense of responsibility to consider that when they sign on, and employers should have the common sense to factor in the possibility when they hire. No one should have anything to fear from an open and honest dialogue if everyone is behaving professionally.

  6. 6 steve
    April 7, 2008 at 15:08

    Nobody sees it as wrong as some people deliberately using an employer as a welfare system? It really shouldn’t be the employer’s responsibility to cater to your personal decisions. You are there to work for them. I sometimes slave away at my job. They pay my bills in exchange for me working for them.

    Should men get some time off too? Paid? Why only for women? I thought you were equal?

  7. 7 Angelina
    April 7, 2008 at 16:22

    Of course not! It’s okay to be able to discuss such a situation with your employer, but should not be made mandatory.As long as it doesn’t affect the woman’s performance at work,an employer has no right to invade her privacy.A woman can usually handle both professional & personal life quite well.

  8. April 7, 2008 at 16:36

    should a man have to tell his employer if his partner is having a baby? One would hope that it would have nearly the same impact on a man to participate in parenthood. When there are these questions such as teen pregnancies I find that the men are left out as if they have nothing to do with the pregnancy. I do not think it is the responsibility of the woman solely to care for the child, so I would like to see both parents treated equally.
    I have had two children by the way. and no my partner did not help. there was no expectation that he would have his life changed in any way but we were in a fundamentalist macrobiotic community. I can only wish that it can be better for mothers today!

  9. 9 steve
    April 7, 2008 at 16:51

    I’m rather shocked with the entitlement mentality of Europe. It’s like the employer is meant to cater to you, rather than the other way around. So, what’s to stop me from demanding that I get time off, paid preferably to go on an extended vacation? It’s a choice, just like having a child is. Why should some choices get paid leave and others not? Do you honestly think I would get hired for a job if 6 weeks into it I announced I wanted to take off for 18 months to go on a vacation around the world? Of course they wouldn’t hire me. I realize having a child isn’t a vacation, but it is a choice. I know enough Canadians that have dealt basically with fraud, where women knowing they are pregnant, her hired, and immediately go on maternity leave, abusing the system.

  10. 10 Laura in Minneapolis
    April 7, 2008 at 16:57

    First of all, paternal leave (for both parents) is a really, really good thing. I can’t stress how important it is for the child, the mother, the father, and the family as a whole! Short paternal leaves lead to so many adverse consequences for the family, it’s ridiculous to me that some countries *cough* The United States *cough* have NO mandated paid maternity leave what-so-ever.
    Sweden, for example, is a shining star in paternal leave, giving 18 MONTHS PAID leave to parents to split between themselves (they encourage equal splitting, but for many reasons, in practice more is often given to the mother).

    @ Steve: YES! Men should get paid time off, just as women should paid get time off. If it’s not paid time off (right now the USA generally gives 6 weeks unpaid off) then only those privileged with wealth will be able to take it. Many families can’t afford to take off the 6 weeks with no wages. I’ve even heard of mothers who are financially forced to go back to work THREE DAYS after giving birth! That’s ridiculous!

    While I base a lot of this off of child psych classes i’ve take, here’s an example of a study that found these adverse affects:

    Laura in Minneapolis

  11. 11 Brett
    April 7, 2008 at 16:57

    @ Ruby

    I find that the men are left out as if they have nothing to do with the pregnancy.

    Often times men are left out by the choice of the woman. Keep in mind, the woman holds all of the power in childbearing. It is her choice to either have the child or go out and get an abortion, the man has no say in this, yet is it not his child as well? If she wants to leave the man and claim child support down the road, its solely up to her. In almost all cases the woman is awarded custody of the child over the father.
    There are so many imbalances in the system leaning in favor toward females it is mind boggling.

    With that said, how are both parents ever going to be treated equally when the majority of power belongs to the female?

    I hope that we will come to a realization that both parties in parenting need to be treated as equals and have equally important roles in parenting. And above that realization, actually do something about it.

    So far society as well as businesses do not seem to think it is as important for males to have the same time as females off for a newborn, hopefully this will change in the future.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  12. 12 Laura in Minneapolis
    April 7, 2008 at 16:58

    So back to the question: Should women be required to tell their employers of plans for pregnancy? Perhaps, but in a lot of cases, they don’t plan for it at all. My answer is a big, outraged “NO!!” Only because of the gender inequalities interwoven into a law like this.

    Obviously the majority of men are honest and decent, but a man has the luxury of impregnating a woman and escaping the situation. Barring abortion, the women are the ones to shoulder the responsibility of parenthood if the man abandons them.

    So if a woman must say, “Yes- I would like to have children soon,” than a man too must say, “Yes- I would like to children soon.” There must be an equal share of the responsibility in childrearing, for it is not just the woman responsible for creating the child in the first place (except for adoption or chosen single-parenting). But if we require this, should employers be able to ask, “Is there a possibility you may be having unprotected sex anytime soon?” Where does it end?

    Laura in Minneapolis

  13. 13 steve
    April 7, 2008 at 17:08

    @ Brett:

    Basically for a woman to not get custody of the kids (at least shared custody) she has to basically be a threat to herself or her kid. Of all the divorced people I know, I know one guy who actually got sole custody of the kid because of how crazy his ex wife was. Basically he feels lucky to be alive, if that tells you the level of craziness he had to deal with once she stopped hiding it and revealed her true self. She was vicious too. He worked full time to support her going to University. She consulted a divorce attorney who recommended she stop short of graduating so her degree didn’t become marital property. So he paid for her schooling, didn’t go to school himself, and worked to support her and the kid, and she divorced him in a most devious way, but fortunately at least she wasn’t rewarded with the child.

  14. 14 steve
    April 7, 2008 at 17:10


    Not to sound cruel or uncaring, but if you’re that financially bad off that you have to go back to work 3 days after giving birth, perhaps you shouldn’t have kids if you cannot afford them? That would seem to be the responsible thing to do, but then again, in this day and age, responsibility isn’t a very well recognized thing.

  15. 15 Laura in Minneapolis
    April 7, 2008 at 17:25

    Thats basically like saying anyone below middle class shouldn’t have children. If we had even 6 weeks PAID leave for both parents (remember, many Scandinavian countries have months upon months) the majority of parents would be able to get by just fine, regardless of economic status.

    I see what you’re saying about the “entitlement mentality,” in terms of yes, having a child in the perfect world is a choice. But there’s so much more to it. Like i said, often it’s unplanned to begin with. Then a decision about whether to terminate that pregnancy via abortion is laced with social pressures, one way or the other.

    Besides, i’m pretty sure world leaders encourage people to have families (except for maybe china, but that’s a whole other bag of worms). I think everyone has the right to have a child, and it is in the best interest of the country to support families in whatever way they can. These children are, after all, the future politicians, lawyers, teachers, and general workforce.

    Laura in Minneapolis

  16. 16 Laura in Minneapolis
    April 7, 2008 at 17:30

    Here’s a case in Italy where they’re “bribing couples into having babies,” due to their fear of a negative population growth. Coincidentally, Sweden again is their reference point. I guess Sweden is where the party’s at.


  17. 17 Will Rhodes
    April 7, 2008 at 18:00

    It isn’t the bosses business. So it’s a no from me.

  18. 18 Venessa
    April 7, 2008 at 18:00

    While I don’t think it’s necessary to disclose a pregnancy, marriage etc to an employer I think it is important to have an open dialogue. Employers are not responsible for your personal decisions. Employers pay you to do a job and are there to make money. If someone chooses to take time off from their job and it negatively impacts your position that was a decision you made. Business can’t stop because you made a personal decision that directly affects your work.

    What I find apalling is women bringing their children to the work place. Having a child is a choice which means you make compromises that could include limitations to your career. If it’s an unplanned pregnancy no one else should pay a consequence for an irresponsible choice. Why should such special priveleges be extended by an employer? Again, the choice was to have a child at that point in your life. Allowing children in the office impacts the work of other employees as well as distracting the parent. You are there to do a job, not babysit your children.

    Portland, OR

  19. 19 Janet T
    April 7, 2008 at 18:12

    I’ve been on both sides of this issue- I was an employee when I had both of my kids, 4 years apart- I worked practically up to my delivery date and then took 3 months off with each one. I worked at the same employer for both kids, but had been there two years before I had my first. I had a pretty close relationship with my employers- but they never asked me if I intended to have children- I think they just assumed it would happen at some point. And we all lived through it……
    As an employer now, I have had an employee leave due to her pregnancy- 6 months before her due date. She had worked here about a year, just long enough to be properly trained and good at her job. I have replaced her with someone with more experience, and it worked out really well for us. I also have someone working for me that is young and newly married and I assume she will one day be out on maternity leave- I just hope it isn’t during our busy time of year. Either way we will deal with it as it comes.

    Birth, death and taxes………….the things you can count on.

    I think to take a position with a company, or sign a contract if you know you are pregnant and will be unable to fulfill the contract is fraud.-
    and ultimately could set back women- will our contracts have to include pregnancy clause?

    Otherwise I think if you have women (and men with wives) in their childbearing years you should expect life to happen.

  20. April 7, 2008 at 18:16

    I am sure that there is a way to resolve this in terms of the British presenter and her employers. Indeed, it is unfortunate that she has to be absent so soon after signing a contract that necessarilly suggests that she would have at least been available to complete her professional obligations in this regard. After all, something is to be said for consistency and familiarity, in terms of the viewing audience, in her line of business.

    However, I wonder whether we are not going a litle overboard by asking whether women should be required to reveal whether they intend to be pregnant or not, either at an interview or during the course of their employ. Such things are rarely ever as planned as suggested by this question.

    I do believe that where it proves appropriate to inform the relevant personnel this can and should be done, but as a legal requirement from the outset does seem questionable, if not venturing in the realms of breaching human rights. So, I would go with no!

    I would love to hear, however, where men are allowed paternity leave for an equivalent period as women in the professional context, and whether that should be a requirement at the moment of employment ini terms of what their own plans are? That, I daresay, might yet prove to be an interesting discussion.

  21. 21 steve
    April 7, 2008 at 19:24

    Bravo Vanessa, however this is the ME ME ME I want this and I want this right now entitlement society. Nobody is responsible for their actions. Their decisions are your fault, etc.. Adults act like children these days. Your employer doesn’t pay you to sit at home, especially from a conscience decision by choice. If you were sick, that would be a different story, as sick leave should be required, and it people should be encouraged to use it so as to not get other people sick.

  22. 22 steve
    April 7, 2008 at 19:27

    Janet t:

    Question for you. How would that work with employment contracts? Can a contract have provisions for pregnancy? Perhaps you contract away your right to have a kid while in employment, or does pregnancy allow for a breach without consequences? I mean, let’s say female basketball players. Say if one gets pregnant, and she cannot play anymore. What should happen? It’s not like it’s an injury.

  23. April 7, 2008 at 20:11

    I am not yet at the stage when i want to have children. But when my mum was my age she was already engaged, and she had me when she was in her late twenties.

    The career i want to go into has little job security at the moment, but it is a career i want to build sucessfully. I do not think that within 10 years i will be ready to give up my career to have children.

    But then comes the problem since i also want a family, and i dont want my children to be in full time child care from as soon as they are crawling. I quite like the idea of bringing a child with me to work, but prehaps to inhouse child care. If employees children could be looked after on the company premisis then it would provide a happy medium?

  24. 24 George USA
    April 7, 2008 at 20:59

    Walk the Line-

    When demanded by law to notify your employer of pregnancy

    draw the line on notification of conception attempts.

    Keep whatever privacy and dignity you may.

  25. 25 Laura in Minneapolis
    April 7, 2008 at 21:02

    Take a step back! Why is it the woman who is the only one who has to worry about how her career or day job will be affected by pregnancy?? In most cases, she is NOT the only one that either chose it, or irresponsibly let it happen.

    Can we address this too?

  26. 26 Syed Hasan Turab
    April 7, 2008 at 21:08

    Pregnancy is purely private & personal business may not be an employer issue.
    This is why good relations between employee & employer are essential may not be classified in a legal & illegal manners.

  27. 27 steve
    April 7, 2008 at 21:43

    Syed, it is the employer’s business when they have to pay someone and that person not work for them. Would you want to pay for someone who isn’t working for you, and have to hire someone else to replace that person, all from a personal decision that person made? It’s not like they need the permission of the employer to have a kid. I’ve lost jobs in the past from being sick! It wasn’t a choice for me to get sick, and I’m glad to have surivived, but I wasn’t able to work for them, hence I was let go. If we are going to have maternity leave, why not give people with cancer paid leave too? At least they didn’t choose to get cancer.

  28. April 8, 2008 at 11:18

    Steve it is a horrible thing to say but the reason why employers do not give paid leave to people who have cancer is because there is no guarentee they will be returning to work. I would also like to point out that not all pregancys are planned.

    With maternity leave although the woman might choose not to return to work, the employee still has a responsibility to the company since they have provided maternity care. It is impossbile for a new born baby to be taken immediately away from its mother, and the company would loose many great employees if it ever tried to force this law.

    I think men need to be included in this discussion. In the uk men can also take some form of maternity leave? Do you think this could work in other countries?
    Discuss 😀

  29. April 8, 2008 at 14:02

    My question is: Should mothers be allowed to take their babies to work?

    What a wonderful question! Here you have an organization trying to balance its own needs and wants, by having employees not take too much time off, with the needs and wants of the employees with newborns who wish to spend time with their babies.

    In defense of bringing babies to work, it allows the company to not be put in such a hard spot, by having mothers take the shortest time off possible before returning to work, bringing their baby along.
    But don’t you think it could be the slightest distraction not only to the mother trying to accomplish work, but the rest of the office or workforce? As I noted in my previous response to this blog; My work environment is stressful enough, I don’t know if I could take a newborn next to me crying for weeks on end. Granted, I have seen plenty newborns who are nice and quiet, but I have also seen some that just live for making noise, haha.
    I think that a work-from-home approach, when applicable, may be better for the company, the employee, and the newborn. I just can’t think of many jobs where bringing a baby to work would not negatively affect work performance of the mother or her co-workers in some way.
    It would be interesting to see a study done on child development if a mother bringing her child to work instead of leaving the child at home with another parent or sitter, or instead of staying home with the child, has any impact on the child, positive or negative.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  30. April 8, 2008 at 14:19

    Work and Private circumstances should be left separate. An employer has no right to decline or accept someone on personal reasons.

    Although in certain cases when female or male attend a responsible job for example being a surgeon or a job with a huge amount of responsibility that could have effect on other peoples life or life status. The employer has to have a say.

    Does any one know how this is when you are in the army? Female soldier/officer or what rank gets pregnant during war time or receives a duty call? Does it count as insubordination?

  31. 31 Lindsay Nelson - MS, USA
    April 8, 2008 at 14:21

    It’s ridiculous to say that women should have to report their family plans to employers. Men don’t have to report when they are going to have sex with the intention of impregnating their wife, so why should women have to report, in a sense, the same thing to their employers? To mimic someone who posted previously, not all pregnancies are planned so if it were required to report family plans, would these women then somehow be discriminated against for not following protocol? A planned pregnancy is a personal, family matter that occurs when it is best for that family, not the outside world. So much is catered to the working world today, do we really need another constraint?

  32. 32 selena
    April 8, 2008 at 14:29

    Hi Roz,

    This is an interesting question. The day must come when men and women are regarded as equal partners in the lives of children. It is my opinion, that all things being equal, someone, father or mother, should give up work and raise their children.

    But we have created a society that is far worse, in some respects, than the society which existed before the feminist revolution. That revolution succeeded in making two incomes a necessity. In the majority of families, both parents have to work.

    That being said, why do people have children if they can’t afford to look after them?

    To the question, should the boss know? Of course not! In a “free” society, why is that even a question?

  33. April 8, 2008 at 14:34

    Well, to tell my boss that Im expecting a child is incredible. I think this is a natural occurence which comes and whenever it appears, we should be greatful to GOD and not go o telling our bosses that this and the otehr is gonna happen. Their role I believe is to take care of the contract agreements.

    Also, the contracts should cater for the Maternity leaves for the workers since these are normal human beings who might expect babies any time.

  34. 34 Ros Atkins
    April 8, 2008 at 14:39

    Do people really plan these things or do they sometimes happen? I remember standing on the ice with the travel “A” Ice Hockey team I worked 15 years to coach and telling them I had to give the team up cause I got cancer. Didn’t plan that. Women and babies and all the things that happen to people just happen sometimes. It’s not a plot.

  35. 35 ZK
    April 8, 2008 at 14:46

    I’m all for them having the right to not disclose sensitive things, like pregnancies, that might cost them their jobs… IF they are in a non-emergency job. Police officers, paramedics, etc should not have that right, however, as it would only serve to disrupt emergency services as more time has to be spent looking for replacements at considerable cost.

  36. 36 steve
    April 8, 2008 at 14:50

    Smackie said, “An employer has no right to decline or accept someone on personal reasons.” Yes they do. As a lawyer, I wouldn’t want to hire someone with a criminal record as a lawyer, even if they still managed to keep their law license. I wouldn’t want to hire sex maniac as a sex addiction counselor, yet those are personal reasons, personal things. Say if a teacher likes having sex with little kids? I surely wouldn’t want to hire them. I wouldn’t want to hire someone who is a drug addict to be in a law enforcement job. I realize these examples are different than getting pregnant, but if we for once would take responsibility for our actions, pregnancy is the similar presuming you haven’t been raped. We’re all adults on here, we know that the stork doesn’t bring babies. It’s like people are astounding that you can get pregnant from having sex. I guess the sex education in schools is really that poor.

    Let’s not forget that we have our jobs to serve our employers. If you don’t want that, then start up your own business. To be kind, and to ensure they have healthy workers so that they can be productive, my employer pays my health insurance premiums. I’m grateful, hence I work more. I don’t expect them to cater to my own personal decisions. I’d love to take a paid sabbatical, but it’s not going to happen. Nobody sees anything wrong with that newscaster announcing she will be going on maternity leave soon after securing a very expensive contractual deal?? HOnestly, if I think they could prove she knew she was pregnant while securing that deal, I would say she committed fraud.

    Bringing babies to work? Depends on the nature of the work. I cannot imagine what a law firm client would think if they heard screaming babies in a firm. I would think they would wish our priority were on their needs. Work from home? Good idea, but if you can work from home, you can also be easily outsourced.

  37. 37 Venessa
    April 8, 2008 at 15:37

    Employees should not be expected to tell employers about their private lives but there should not be an expectation that the employer should cater to it. All of these are choices we make. As a working professional I have chosen not to have children because it may compromise my career goals. Alternately my husband and I have discussed the possiblility of a family and should we decide to do that we have mad the determination that he will be the stay at home parent. I in no way expect his or my employer to give me any compensation or time off beyond the current benefit program. If you don’t like that your employer is not providing child care (because they are there to run a business; not a day care) then find a different employer or a job that allows more flexibility. If we could all do everything we would but this is an individual compromise that you make when you have a family. Just as there is a risk when an employer hires you that you may leave; you risk losing a position that you cannot perform effectively.

  38. 38 Julie P
    April 8, 2008 at 15:38

    Hate to tell you, but it is illegal to discriminate against women and here is why:

    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII, which covers employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments.

    An employer cannot refuse to hire a pregnant woman because of her pregnancy, because of a pregnancy-related condition or because of the prejudices of co-workers, clients, or customers.

    Here is the bottom line. Women get pregnant, regardless of if it’s planned or not.

  39. April 8, 2008 at 15:42

    in response to Brett’s question, I am in total agreement that the distractions presented by a newborn is untenable in a work situation. Even children who are older can prove to be a nuisance at work.

    That said, however, surely there are ways of addressing this problem. If employers wish to hire the best and brightest who will earn maximum profits then surely providing in house day/ child care would be useful. After all, women constitute a large part of the work force. Working from home is also a good suggestion which I totally support.

    However, I wonder how do we treat with men and paternity leave? Would we require them to reveal their intentions to their employers? Or, is it assumed that men are always sexually active anyway so there is no need? That still leaves us with the paternity issue just the same, as well as what does a woman or man do when there is a miscarriage after having made known their intentions in way?

    Obviously, these are personal issues, in many instances, which should be left well alone by employers…We should, I think, focus more on making our working relationships and environments more bearable and human rights compliant, as a basic requirement.

  40. 40 Ros Atkins
    April 8, 2008 at 16:03

    It is the right of women to have their kids whenever they want. This is a private decision and an employer has no right to be informed.
    Women should however take into consideration the effect their decision wil have on their employer and career.

  41. 41 Katharina in Ghent
    April 8, 2008 at 16:06

    No way, Jose!

    First of all, in many countries a woman only gets child support if she has a job, so in case of an unwanted pregnancy, possibly even with the future father disappearing, what options does the woman have??? Second, even if the woman has been working for years for a company, made career and hopefully even has a decent working relationship with her superiors, I’m sure that if she talks about wanting to have a baby, she can kiss her career goodbye and start entering data and filing bills for the rest of her reproductive years.

    Any employer who hires a woman has to consider the possibility that she may have a baby somewhen in the future, but if the employer provides a good working environment then the woman will gladly return after the break and be even more productive.

    Apart from that: Don’t the baby-boomers all retire very soon? And won’t companies then have problems to fill the gaps? Where shall all these employees come from, if only young men can get hired because they don’t get pregnant. And lastly: It’s a fact that young men more often change their jobs to advance their careers, while women tend to be more loyal to their employer… So when the young man leaves for good, then the employers investment into him is lost completely, while the woman goes on baby break for a few months and then returns.

  42. 42 Royston Roberts
    April 8, 2008 at 16:11

    hi ros, depending on the working relationship that exist between you and your boss, you can share any secret with them, i mean every god damn secret, there are some bosses that dont just create atmosphere of employer – employee relationship, so those kind of bosses need not be considered into your personal matters, so for me i dont see any problem with that, if as i heard earlier on mention is the status quo.
    royston roberts
    freetown,sierra leone

  43. 43 Alison, Idaho
    April 8, 2008 at 16:13

    It should absolutely not be required to tell your boss if you’re planning a family. Are you going to have to report in every time you have sex with your spouse? What kind of society are we living in when even that is not considered too personal to have to disclose by law.

    That said, I do think this news reader is making the rest of us look bad. It may be just a coincidence that she’s suddenly pregnant only 6 weeks into the contract, but it doesn’t look that way. If I were to get pregnant and have to take a long leave, my department would suffer severely. They would almost certainly have to replace me, and I would not expect to have a job waiting for me.

  44. 44 George USA
    April 8, 2008 at 16:29

    The flip side to women taking children to work is men taking children to work.

    I took my son many times when he was small and I was raising him alone.

    It was easy for me to get away with and no problem.

    I do not think a woman would have gotten the same treatment at that time.

  45. April 8, 2008 at 16:31

    Steve Said: “Yes they do. As a lawyer, I wouldn’t want to hire someone with a criminal record as a lawyer, even if they still managed to keep their law license. I wouldn’t want to hire sex maniac as a sex addiction counselor, yet those are personal reasons, personal things.”

    I agree on the criminal record thing. Employees are obligated to mention if they ever have been involved with law enforcement. A good example is that if you want to work at Schiphol Airport, any job or what so ever, you will be screened. Not only you but your entire family and also your boy or girlfriend will be screened. If your boyfriends sister has been a criminal or arrested for any kind of reason you will be declined to ever work at the airport.

    We once had a case that a stewardess was fired because a couple of years ago that had been a drug raid in her building, not even in her house. She got reinstated by the why.

    But those are reasons of security.

    Steve said: “I wouldn’t want to hire sex maniac as a sex addiction counselor, yet those are personal reasons, personal things.”

    That goes way to far. You can not expel or decline employees because they have a sex addiction in their private life. And I am sure, your the lawyer, that if you would decline someone application or fire someone because the person in question is a sex addict, he could sew you big time.

    So where to cross a line? Security? Personal Security? Personal sex?

  46. 46 steve
    April 8, 2008 at 16:40


    I have a friend in Ontario who said it’s rampant for women to get hired knowing they are pregnant and then take long leaves of absence to get the most out of the system. He has no problem with women who get pregnant while employed, but basically he says women are basically showing and coming in to get jobs knowing they won’tbe there for long and he has to find replacements. Once the replacement got pregnant and then they had to replace the replacement. It’s really not fair for businesses to cater to people’s personal decisions.

  47. 47 steve
    April 8, 2008 at 16:45

    @ Smackie:

    How is hiring a sex addict to conduct sex addiction groups different than hiring a drug abuser to enforce drug laws? It’s no different. The reason you don’t want a sex addict to teach a sex addiction group is quite obvious. If they cannot control their problem, how are they going to help others control it? Same with a drug using cop, enforcing drug laws? Come on.. Would you want a pedophile teaching 3rd graders? Of course not. They’re simply not qualified to do the job they are applying for.

    I think your schipol example is a little extreme. I know FBI agents who have relatives that had been convicted of crimes and they are still special agents, not an airport employee. And just being arrested? People get arrested and not charged or convicted all the time. Being arrested has no reflection on guilt at all. A conviction or a plea of guilt is a different story.

  48. 48 George USA
    April 8, 2008 at 16:50

    I wouldn’t want to hire sex maniac as a sex addiction counselor

    Female sex therapist and specialist in sex counseling are often draw to it by this.

    There are in fact sex addicts, female, who are specialist in this field.

    There is even a specialty in this in medicine taught in one country where I worked,

    and the courses were taken by males to spice up their own sex life because of the women who took the courses.

    Who more competent to administer sex therapy than a woman sex addict?

    It seemed to work very well.

  49. 49 Ros Atkins
    April 8, 2008 at 16:50

    Back to the subject in hand if that’s alright Steve and Smackie. I know it’s not random, but you are heading off at a tangent. thanks.

  50. April 8, 2008 at 16:50

    Yes, I think if you plan to have a family in the very near future, your employer should know. If it going to be in the far far future, then keep it to yourself.

  51. 51 George USA
    April 8, 2008 at 16:56

    ros…what a shame, the offshoot topic seemed viable

  52. April 8, 2008 at 16:57

    This one is really not as hard as everybody makes it. It is simply a cold and taboo subject for the law and courts. The contract should be written to cover any non-work related “injury” for lack of a better word. The contract signed by any employee should spell out what would happen if you find yourself in this predicament. Many sports contracts say what an athlete can and can’t do. Ride a motorcycle for instance. A few years back we had an up and coming star on our the Browns get into a motorcycle accident and take himself out for the season. As a result the courts ordered him to return his signing bonus, and give up his $10 million contract. He had agreed not to participate in this activity when he signed on. If it isn’t excluded by the contract any employer should not be able to hold you accountable for it. Heck in this area we are hearing of employers telling people who they have employed for 20 or 30 years they have to quit smoking or get fired. That should be illegal.

    So a woman can get pregnant, ride a motorcycle, smoke, drink, do crack, sky dive, read my blog, or do any other hazardous activities as long as it isn’t forbidden by her contract.

    Sure this might set up a natural discrimination mechanism, but hey take it up with the creator. He/ she/ it is the one who didn’t distribute gestation responsibilities equally. If it any consolation we get to die at a younger age, and we can not improve our economic status by simply wearing revealing cloths.

  53. 53 Ros Atkins
    April 8, 2008 at 17:02

    George – well you’re welcome to persuade me otherwise. But let’s keep this to maternity and employment.

    Chen – There may be some posts that are longer but not many. And none with a point by point list like yours. and yes of course you need to detail historical facts to make your points, long lists aren’t going to work. and your argument doesn’t quite hold – if every time we talked about the middle east we allowed the same historical arguments to be thrashed out, the issue of the day would never get a look in. of course history is important (i did a degree in it) but it can swamp any discussion if we’re not careful. you and your fellow posters are not going to get us very far by listing your historical ‘facts’ at each other. of course you’re welcome to do that, just not on our blog.

    right i have to go to the studio. you’re all making me feel like the big bad wolf which despite my beard i have no desire to be.

  54. 54 Alison, Idaho
    April 8, 2008 at 17:07

    Who said anything about catering to personal decisions Steve? I said I would NOT expect to find my job waiting for me. I’m not asking for anything. I am saying that my personal life is none of my boss’s business and only asking for a little privacy. Do you think you should be required by law to tell your boss whenever you have a sexual encounter. After all, you may get a woman pregnant and that may affect your job when you are required to care for that child, and maybe your boss should be allowed to fire you if that’s a possibility.

  55. 55 Dolapo Aina
    April 8, 2008 at 17:10

    Why should an employer know the intimate details of an employee? Isn’t this a minute form of voyeurism disguised as official knowledge and policy?
    Lets official knowledge be official and private knowledge be private.
    Dolapo Aina,
    Lagos, Nigeria

  56. 56 George USA
    April 8, 2008 at 17:18

    Ok, maternity is not as big a deal in employment today medically,

    women may work to due date,

    society does not seem offended today or consider an advanced pregnancy in the workplace outofplace,

    so the only question is return to work,

    which large corporations with nurseries deal with pretty smoothly.

    AOK on pregnancy in the work place. Over.

  57. 57 Ros Atkins
    April 8, 2008 at 17:20

    I hardily shake hands with my boss these days since last December because any time he sees me the first question he asks me is that “Arnaud, when are you getting married”? to me this depends on culture…because here in Africa before getting married or some family matters it is good their boss to be aware…now I am forced to let almost of my colleagues know my plan of getting married soon…but I don’t think telling them when having a kid!

    Arnaud Ntirenganya
    Rwandan in Cameroon

  58. 58 Arnaud ntirenganya Emmanuel
    April 8, 2008 at 17:25

    I hardily shake hands with my boss these days since last December because any time he sees me the first question he asks me is that “Arnaud, when are you getting married”? to me this depends on culture…because here in Africa before getting married or some family matters it is good their boss to be aware…now I am forced to let almost of my colleagues know my plan of getting married soon…but I don’t think telling them when having a kid!

  59. April 8, 2008 at 17:26

    If a boss asks about an employees family plans, then I believe that the employee has an obligation to tell…and tell honestly.
    On the question of whether mothers should bring their babies to work – my wife worked as a stagehand when she gave birth to our first child. There was no way my wife could have brought our daughter to work with her. So, on her breaks, she pumped breast milk and at times when possible, I brought our daughter to where ever my wife was at the time so my wife could breast-feed her.

  60. 60 Peter Gizzi UK
    April 8, 2008 at 17:31

    Hi folks it’s confession time. I’d never heard of Natasha Kaplinsky until today! I rarely watch TV news. Is she actually worth £1,000,000 per annum?

    That aside in The UK women are entitled to have baies when they choose. When they decide to tell their employers is surely a personal choice. Whether she knew she was preganat when taking the new job is not relevant. She should be allowed maternity leave and they will have to get a temporary stand in.

    Audrey Carvill, Charlotte Green perhaps 2 of my favourite presenters.

  61. 61 George USA
    April 8, 2008 at 17:34

    Breast feeding is actually a separate and worthy discussion-

    Breast feeding is good for the baby.

    It is no problem in most of the world.

    It reasonably should not be any problem in the USA or UK today.

    A woman may breast feed in the office or work place, as it requires only turning very slightly to ensure modesty, not necessarily for the mother but for the sensibilities of other employees.

    AOK on breastfeeding in the workplace.

  62. 62 Scott Millar
    April 8, 2008 at 17:54

    It’s easy to say no special considerations should be made for pregnancy and motherhood in the workplace. Initially I felt this way as I won’t be having kids! However, mothers are in a way doing a public service. Women are somewhat unfairly the sex that can reproduce! How else would we exist? How else would companies keep making money with no employees?

    Pregnancy is however not a disability, it is indeed a choice. Women along with their male partners can act irresponsibly. If a couple or individual decides to have a child at a time that will negatively effect the quality of their work companies should be allowed to take action.

    If we decide women have absolutely no responsibility to notify their employers, then perhaps employers have no responsibility to make accommodations either. Required notification is a dangerous avenue, because each pregnancy is different and it should be up to the individual.

    Women or men should not bring a child to work, unless daycare facilities are provided. It is simply inappropriate, disrupting and unprofessional.

    -Portland, Oregon

  63. 63 Muhammad
    April 8, 2008 at 18:00

    Hi WHYS!

    I hope you all are fine.

    Is it fair for an employer to want to know if you plan to have children?
    It is the nature of job that determines the critical need of an employee in his/her role. Though the need of a newsreader is very critical yet there is always an alternative to situations. All things in this world do not go planned. For example, We have to use alternatives in the case of death.

    I don’t think it is fair for an employer to know things that are seriously personal and hard to predict as circumstances change on daily basis. Therefore employers must handle such sort of issues by offering alternatives in consent with the employee. In this typical case an alternative could be an agreement between both saying that the newsreader will compensate that time which is not suitable for her to appear on screen.

    In this commercial world if we let employers to affect personal lives for their financial benefits then human rights will go on damaging seriously.

    With Regards,


  64. 64 Andrew
    April 8, 2008 at 18:01

    A tough one. On the one hand as an employer you would expect that an employee on contract would live up to that obligation and provide their service as they had agreed to in good faith. Having female employees go off to have families means a major disruption for your organisation, having to arrange or retrain replacements and then to keep that position open for them when they return to work. As an employee you would expect that in this world people have families and as such should be entitled to do so. Varying degrees of expectation and obligation due to the position held should make both sides think very carefully of how they behave and what actions they take. These matters should be resolved before an employee is taken on rather than after.

    Of course in this day and age women will want to have families and this is to be expected and that should be factored in. However with women wanting to strengthen their position in the working world does that serve their interest well, to move in and out of employment? On the other hand, men do not receive the same consideration so is this a debate about one half of the population taking advantage of their biology?

    Employers should have no involvement in your personal life outside of work for the most part, but you have some obligation to employers just as they owe some to you, keeping you in their workplace. Sadly in this day and age there seems to be the culture of benign slavery in many workplaces where employers believe they own their employees body and soul and to have them on 24 hour beck and call. It’s a job, a job only and nothing more. Why should they expect to control your life outside of office hours? Naturally if you are a police officer say and indulge in illegal activities outside of work then that would put a different slant on things.



  65. 65 Mosese
    April 8, 2008 at 18:02

    It is imperative for your boss to know you family plans as it is a form accountability. While its important for an employee to be accountable to the institution/ company s/he serves, its essential for the employers to generate interest in the all round welfare of their staff including their family lives and aspirations as these can positively or negatively impact on their performances at work.

  66. 66 Kwabena
    April 8, 2008 at 18:03

    It is the right of women to have their kids whenever they want. This is a private decision and an employer has no right to be informed.
    Women should however take into consideration the effect their decision wil have on their employer and career.

  67. 67 Devadas
    April 8, 2008 at 18:04

    nothing surprising in this era of globalization and liberalisation werein money and profit is the only mantra on everyones lips .
    recently in america an company asked its employers to urinate in the bags supplied by the company from their workseat itself as company found out employers going to bathroom a waste of time and consequently cutting into their company profits.comparing that instance with this employer wanting to know about the familyplanning of its employee is a small deal as humaness and humanethics are on the vain in this surge of profitmaking werein woman moreso and other employers are considered as a commodity in the market economy and the human rights of personnels are given a back seat.
    just looking at the paradox of a commodity produced gives a wider picture to this debate .products produced by the company are all well shielded by intellectual property rights (ipr)but the employees who produced this products struggle for their basic human rights which are denied by these same employers.eg even family planning accordingly to employers whims and fancies as these debate shows.

  68. 68 JoAnn
    April 8, 2008 at 18:05

    The business world has had several DECADES to come to terms with the changes in the work force. Instead it has gone merrily along assuming the old model of one parent in the workplace and one in the home still exists. This assumption is classist and sexist. They should drag themselves into the 21st century and realize that the old 9 – 5 formulas no longer work. Changes need to be made for those who are trying to work and raise a family. They need the help and support of the business world not barriers.

    Woodland, WA, USA

  69. 69 steve
    April 8, 2008 at 18:07

    Looking at the various views, It amazes me how self absorbed people can be to think that others exist to cater to their choices in life. I thought my coworker that quit her job to plan her wedding (I feel bad for her future husband, but he must know what he’s getting into, or if not, he’s clueless) was bad, at least the employer isn’t paying her based upon her choices. Her fiance is the one supporting her now, not the employer. To those who say that not every pregnancy is planned, while that’s true, it still takes away from personal responsibility for your actions. I think I knew since age 6 or seven that people reproduce by having sex, are you just learning this now? Did you not get taught about the birds and the bees and still believe in the stork??? In short, be more responsible. Your employer shouldn’t pay the price for your irresponsiblity.

  70. 70 Arnaud
    April 8, 2008 at 18:08

    I hardily shake hands with my boss these days since last December because any time he sees me the first question he asks me is that “Arnaud, when are you getting married”? to me this depends on culture…because here in Africa before getting married or some family matters it is good their boss to be aware…now I am forced to let almost of my colleagues know my plan of getting married soon…but I don’t think telling them when having a kid!

    Rwandan in Cameroon

  71. 71 Cathy & Vernon
    April 8, 2008 at 18:10

    I am not an employer but it is none of any employers business to know what your Family Plans are.

    Does any employee ask their boss who he is sleeping with and if the ‘mistake’ with his mistress was planned or not? And crucially would any employee dare ask for a detailed computation of how much the bosses ‘mistake’ will cost the company?!

  72. 72 umoh amos
    April 8, 2008 at 18:13

    Employees should be left to raise their families as and at when they have the opportunity to do so and employees should be made to understand that raising of children is one road all humans will have to pass through and for crying out loud, this is a God given right!


  73. April 8, 2008 at 18:14

    I was five months pregnant with my first child when I attended a job interview. At the end of the interview I revealed that I was pregnant – I felt it was only fair for me to tell them. Three hours later I got a call back from them to say I had got the job and one of the things that impressed them the most was that I had told them up front that I was pregnant. They appreciated my honesty.

    Five years later I am still working for them!!

  74. 74 Rama
    April 8, 2008 at 18:15

    I think its a sad example of how the world is focused on money and profit. My opinion is that its a personal choice, a choice between two people whether to have a baby or and when to have a baby. No boss should be involved in that decissionmaking. But, again its an example of how women are discriminated even in developed countries.

  75. 75 Jennifer
    April 8, 2008 at 18:17

    It is not the business of hte employer whether you are having a child or not. What kind of incredibly profit orientated society are we? Children need to be born and women have a right to work and have children. One of the reason there is such a low birth rate in first world country is there is no community support for women any more.

    She doesn’t employ women of child bearing age!!!! That is a definition of discrimination. Everybody wants to children in society but nobody wants to support family.

    the People are not going to hire pregnant women, its a fact and she would have never gotten the job.

    Its disgusting!

    Mt. Pleasant, Michigan

  76. 76 Tracy
    April 8, 2008 at 18:17

    A pregnancy or plan to have a family is personal, I agree but these are personal decisions that we all know affects the persons work. Not all companies have the resources to handle such and women should be bear this in mind.

  77. 77 debbie h
    April 8, 2008 at 18:18

    It is discrimination period. Women only have to tell employers ONLY and ONLY when men have to do the same thing. …… ONLY if the males also have to tell employers if he is planning on fathering children.


  78. April 8, 2008 at 18:19

    I do believe there should be equality. If women are asked to take a Pregnancy test, then so should men. Of course any man turned down for being pregnant, please contact me. I have a job for you.

  79. 79 John in Salem
    April 8, 2008 at 18:20

    You can make all the philosophical proclamations of principle you want, but in the real world most of us are “at will” employees, which means we can be fired at any time for any reason (or no reason) solely at the whim of our employers.
    If I had an employee who had been planning to get pregnant and then did so at a critical time for the company when she would be the most needed I would lose any trust or confidence in that person that I had. I would then consider her to be more of a liability than an asset and would probably start thinking about replacing her.
    Speaking of her intentions in advance would save us both a lot of trouble and probably save her job.
    Unless you work for the government or a company that has government contracts it would seem that an open and honest dialogue is the only security you can hope for.

  80. 80 Adda
    April 8, 2008 at 18:24

    My name is Adda, I am a MA student of Gender and Ethnicity from Iceland.

    Al though I agree that it is questionable to keep pregnancy from their future employers, I find totally missing from this discussion the role of fathers in the caring of young children, and the role of the state in providing PATERNITY LEAVE so they can have a chance to do that. In Iceland, fathers can have a 3 month paternity leave and this is already changing the atmosphere in the labor market.
    Why is it always women’s responsibility to fit into the mail-designed labor market, and not the responsibility of men and the labor market to change so that BOTH women and men can have successful work AND family lives?

    Thank you,

  81. 81 Thomas
    April 8, 2008 at 18:25

    This is Thomas from Los Angeles, CA. I just reviewed the application form at the company I am employed at. On the application it asks if you are expecting to be away from work for an period of time. Answering “no” on this part of the application while pregnant would be inaccurate and could result in termination. If a woman knows she is pregnant it should be disclosed in this portion of the application, if she is not hired due to that fact then she could make the case of discrimination.

  82. 82 Amir
    April 8, 2008 at 18:26

    Family plans are the private concerns of the individual, but if you are pregnant during the interview, you are obligated to tell the perspective employer. The medical condition can affect whether you capable of doing the job, and would the family leave in a short period after starting might affect the efficacy of the job. Also it allows the employer to perhaps make accommodations for you

  83. April 8, 2008 at 18:27

    And what if the Business is as an exotic dancer?

  84. 84 Lindsay Nelson - MS, USA
    April 8, 2008 at 18:27

    It bothers me when these women say disclose and if the employer doesn’t like it then get a different job. Well that might be possible for upper and middle class educated women, but what about people who might be single or of the lower class. That job may be the only job option they have and in order to support this new child they may have to take this job, what about these people who are not like most of the people we’ve heard speak?

  85. 85 Anthony
    April 8, 2008 at 18:28

    In California, when you work with preggos, they want special treatment. It’s annoying and unfair when they do half their job and get full pay.

    I also hate when they use their hormones as an excuse to lash out. I wish I could do that.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  86. 86 Fred Cantu
    April 8, 2008 at 18:29

    Early in my career I had a very specialized job. I knew it would be hard to replace me if I left. When I was accepted to university I faced the dilemma of whether to tell my boss immediately or give the customary two weeks notice. I opted to give him two months notice. He could have fired me on the spot and I would have been out of work until I moved and started school. But he did not.

    I felt better knowing I did not leave him and my coworkers unprepared for my departure.

    Fred Cantu
    Austin, TX

  87. 87 Adda Ingolfsdottir
    April 8, 2008 at 18:30

    My name is Adda, I am a MA student of Gender and Ethnicity from Iceland.

    Al though I agree that it is questionable to keep pregnancy from their
    future employers, I find totally missing from this discussion the role
    of fathers in the caring of young children, and the role of the state
    in providing PATERNETY LEAVE so they can have a chance to do that. In
    Iceland, fathers can have a 3 month paternity leave and this is
    already changing the atmosphere in the labor market.
    Why is it always women’s responsibility to fit into the mail-designed
    labor market, and not the responsibility of men and the labor market
    to change so that BOTH women and men can have successful work AND
    family lives?

    Thank you,

  88. April 8, 2008 at 18:30

    I’m from Malaysia.

    Here a pregnant mother is given 60 days from day of birth to care for her child then she’s back to work.

  89. 89 Stuart
    April 8, 2008 at 18:34

    Why should a woman disclose her family plans if the employer doesn’t feel the moral obligation to advise employees that they’re all likely to lose their jobs in the next few months because of a merger the employer is working on? The fundamental problem regarding the pregnancy issue is one of equity of employment. If women were viewed, treated, and hired equally with men, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

  90. 90 Falin
    April 8, 2008 at 18:34

    I am young professional woman and someday I will want a family. I don’t believe employers have the right to ask about a woman’s family plans…it is none of their business. With that said, women should not take a job while pregnant or immediately get pregnant unless the woman tells the employer of her upcoming pregnancy.

    If pregnancy is imminent you must tell, if it is years away don’t say anything!

  91. 91 Ellen in Ipswich
    April 8, 2008 at 18:35

    As a professional woman over 45 I have found a lot of difficulty finding work because so many young people have been hired for less money and that includes young mothers. Employers should realize that if they want excellent help they should be less prejudiced against older, wiser, and steadier workers. They say they do not discriminate but they do.

  92. 92 Hlini in Iceland
    April 8, 2008 at 18:36

    In Iceland there are equal rights for both male and female parents to take three months off when they become parents. Additionally they have three months that they can share between themselves. This means that the question that it is a higher risk factor to hire a young woman or man is in principle out of the question. In practice more and more men are taking these paternal leaves here and this ensures that this is a private event that employees can not fire people that are pregnant or have a spouse that is pregnant.

    So I say that it is something that employees have to take into account as a reality when hiring people in general. At least here in Iceland it is a fact that you do not ask about pregnancy or cannot discriminate on the basis of gender or pregnancy and it is protected by law.

  93. 93 Robert
    April 8, 2008 at 18:36

    The worry is that rather than tell her boss about her pregnancy a working woman will opt quietly for an abortion to terminate it.

    Robert, Fiji

  94. 94 Anna
    April 8, 2008 at 18:37

    There are so many advances today in family planning. If a woman loves her job and is dedicated to it, why doesn’t she sit down with her boss and plan out a mutually convenient time to become pregnant?
    That way it doesn’t come out of left field.

  95. 95 Scott Millar
    April 8, 2008 at 18:38

    The inherent problem with required employer notification: it puts too much faith in the employers objectivity and discretion. It puts the woman at an unfair disadvantage. Each woman handles pregnancy differently, for some it causes more disruptions then others.

    When would notification occur? Perhaps the woman may decide not to continue the pregnancy. A miscarriage could occur. The woman may give the baby up for adoption immediately after birth. The business of required notification is too messy and inequitable on all fronts.

    -Portland, Oregon

  96. 96 debbie h in Cleveland
    April 8, 2008 at 18:42

    Maternity leave here in the States I think is only up to 12 weeks of family leave…………..if your laws are longer than that than change them.

    Remember women do NOT get pregnant by themselves and please stop presenting this like a women’s only problem.

    Don’t anyone dare think men don’t try to cover up…..something.

  97. 97 Paula
    April 8, 2008 at 18:42

    It is obviously a personal choice for a woman to have a baby; employers should not be inconvenienced by employees who “exploit the system” by becoming pregnant. It is only in the interest of society for women to have children at certain planned times. Men have no role in having families; neither does society have any interest in the bearing and raising of children.

    Women of childbearing age should be reversibly sterilized as a condition of employment from the age of 16 to the age of 40. Any woman who wants to have a baby may apply to have the sterilization reversed and may then not be employed till the children reach the age of at least 8.

    Women of childbearing age who are discovered to have lied about their pregnancy status may be forced to have abortions so as not to inconvenience their employers.



  98. 98 Dee in Chicago
    April 8, 2008 at 18:43

    Having a baby is a lifestyle choice not a necessity. It is unfair to expect employers to bear the consequences of the willful decision of women who start a new job pregnant.

  99. 99 Lauren
    April 8, 2008 at 18:43

    I’m horrified! I am a 25 yr old female and it has never occured to me that someone would consider not hiring me because I am fertile…

  100. April 8, 2008 at 18:44

    Hi Ros!

    Employers should have the right to know because not knowing could effect the business!

  101. 101 Ulysses Peterson
    April 8, 2008 at 18:46

    Ultimately, the job contract should explicitly address this issue. No, women should not be required to tell if they are planning to get pregnant — or even if they are — but they should not expect bonus treatment. Men cannot have babies, and as a result, they are expected to continue to work and get paid just the same as a woman who CHOOSES to have a baby.

  102. 102 Ana Milena, Colombia
    April 8, 2008 at 18:46

    🙂 Hi, everybody!
    I think empoyers can ask their employees – either fathers or mathers- about their family plans, not in order to affect their estability, but for guaranteeing that it won’t affect their performance as employees in the same way their role as employers won’t affect their family plans – in terms of tasks, time, etc.
    Anyway, parents need to work, even moms who’ve just had babies. But bosses also need to know your availability, which changes after you become a parent.

    Of course, the matter is not saying, “Hey, dear boss! Guess what, tonight I’m going to become pregnant!” but, when they’re hiring employees, you can say, “I’ve got this number of kids,” or “I’m just married and I want to have babies”. If bosses are wise, this information won’t affect your hiring, but it will just take place when necessary – availability of time, tasks you can assign, etc.

    A warm hug for all of you! 😉

  103. 103 Christopher
    April 8, 2008 at 18:46

    If a women is deciding to get pregnant then she should only reveal it if it will detract from hr work. For example in the world of opera if the lead soprano was constantly being replaced then it would cost the opera houses a fortune and every one would loose out.

    chris, sofia.

  104. 104 Steve
    April 8, 2008 at 18:46

    How is being required to reveal if you are pregnant at time of application for a job any different than revealing medical history for health insurance? They ask you question in order whether to determine they will take you on. They normally exclude preexisting conditions for new policies. Before I had employer paid health insurance, I had private insurance and had to reveal my hearing problems, and they covered me, but would not cover any of my hearing problems. It was perfectly legal for them to do that, and this was for a paid service! They weren’t my employer! It’s really not my employer’s job to worry about whether my personal decisions affect them. I’m here to work for them. I am here for THEIR convenience. The entitlement mentality of this day and age seems to say the opposite, your employer is made to accommodate you. I feel bad to take sick leave, to be paid to stay at home, other than realizing I won’t infect other people, further harming productivity.


  105. 105 Scott
    April 8, 2008 at 18:47

    The inherent problem with required employer notification: it puts too much faith in the employers objectivity and discretion. It puts the woman at an unfair disadvantage. Each woman handles pregnancy differently, for some it causes more disruptions then others.

    When would notification occur? Perhaps the woman may decide not to continue the pregnancy. A miscarriage could occur. The woman may give the baby up for adoption immediately after birth. The business of required notification is too messy and inequitable on all fronts.

    Portland, Oregon

  106. 106 Bobbie - Utah - USA
    April 8, 2008 at 18:47

    I believe that at the time of an interview, if you are aware of something in the near future that will affect how you do your job, you should be honest. However for employers to not hire ‘young’ women in discreminatory. I am 31 & have no plans to have children, I would hate for an employer to just assume that all women are planning on starting families.

  107. 107 Rudolph
    April 8, 2008 at 18:49

    I agree with the lawyer that it is not fare that a woman has to choose weather to take a job or to start a family. It is not fare cause like the young lady said earlier the men are not asked to disclosed. But at the same time i also agree that if a young lady is pregnat when going for a job interview they should disclose it cause it can cause problems in the work place.

  108. 108 steve
    April 8, 2008 at 18:50


    I think the issue is more about hiring someone who is pregnant, not just someone who is fertile. The original guest in the UK was the one who had an issue with hiring fertile women. I think if a country where women are entitled to paid maternity leave, interviewing while pregnant, and not revealing it, are conducting a fraud upon the employer.

  109. April 8, 2008 at 18:51

    I am not here to say who should get baby or who should not, but today generation should think before the make these mistake, the child that is having a baby now should have their own home,secure income,so they can have a income upto six months,reason because,when you get pregant an comg to work with your pregnancy that boss could be in trouble also,you can be in dangering your self, an even the baby, baby are borning everyday ,an they are also sick,why,? we have to stop an think a little,yes i think you an eve ry one should tell their boss that they are planing on having a child. Then an their that boss could start preparing for you.and your family.

  110. 110 Samantha Pstrossova
    April 8, 2008 at 18:51

    With the birth rate in Europe and America declining I think its important to have these societies support families. Therefore, not only should businesses not be allowed to ask about your family planning or discriminate because of it, but I think we should encourage benefits by businesses and societies to encourage healthy and positive family growth. Can you have someone from Canada talk about their system? I think its really good.

  111. 111 Julie
    April 8, 2008 at 18:52

    I am a British national living and working in the US (specifically in PA). I have a three children and my husband is a stay-at-home Dad. Of course, I took 8 weeks off from work for each child, but then returned to work.

    What if a male had cancer, or some other illness that requires a month or two off at a time, or someone has an accident that makes them unable to work — something unforseen? They are not penalized, why should a women be penalized.

    Also, if you discriminate against working women for doing the fundamental service of continuing the human race, that means that only women who don’t work would pro-create. Do we really want only non-working women to contribute to the human race?

    There is no way women, neither employee nor employer or business owner, should state the women must tell a prospective employee if they wish to have a child.

    Thanks for the wonderful topic.


  112. 112 Fay
    April 8, 2008 at 18:53

    That U.S. lawyer failed to point out that FMLA (The federal Family Medical Leave Act) which allows for pregnancy leave requires the employee to have worked for one year. Therefore, in the case you have in London, that woman would’ve gotten no benefits other than what her medical insurance through the employer would have provided. And MANY jobs on the U.S. require 3months of probation before an employee gets ANY medical benefits.
    San Francisco
    Listening on KALW-FM

  113. 113 Karen
    April 8, 2008 at 18:57

    A number of years ago, I lost my job when I had just found out I was expecting. I had to have a job to support myself and my child. I interviewed and accepted a position without telling them I was pregnant. I told them when I was three months along. I felt guilty about not telling them but I felt I would not find a job if I told anyone. I put my welfare and that of my child ahead of my employer’s. I received 6 weeks of unpaid leave. And I feel guilty to say, but given the circumstances, I would do it all again.

  114. 114 steve
    April 8, 2008 at 19:00


    Why is the employer’s responsibility to encourage healthy and positive family growth? WHy should employers be a welfare system? As the UK guest said, if the government makes laws like this, why doesn’t the government pay the costs? Then again, that would be taxpayers. Why should I pay for someone else’s decision to have a child? An employer/business exists to make money, not to make sure you have kids. If the employer is a corporation, it exists to perform the goals stated in the articles of incorporation, and I’m pretty sure that no articles of incorporation has said “encourage families growth of employees and society” rather than “to perform a legal business that creates profits for shareholders”. Let’s not forget people that the world does NOT revolve around us. The business isn’t here to serve your needs, you serve it’s needs.

  115. 115 David from Australia
    April 8, 2008 at 19:05

    Why should an employer want to know whether a woman is pregnant anyway? Why would an emloyer fire a woman just because she is pregnant? Do’nt we all expect a healthy woman to have a baby?

    I would suggest that all employers who even imagine to fire a woman because she is pregnan should have no children but only the bussiness, the we will see what happens later.

  116. 116 savane
    April 8, 2008 at 19:06

    Hi WHYSers!

    Fact 1: women are in the workplace.

    Fact 2: women will get pregnant.

    Fact 3: Pregnancy lasts up to +/- 40 weeks.

    Fact 4: Mothers are in the workplace.

    I’m an employer, have worked as an employee and as an HR professional.

    I don’t think you should ask for permission to have a baby, nor should your pregnancy be kept a secret until your water breaks.

    A friend was asked verbally not to have children for the first two years of employment, and she didn’t! I think that’s immoral! I had a nanny who woke me early one morning, with labour pains! I didn’t realise she was pregnant and my baby was two months’ old!!

    As an employer, I can’t stop an employee from getting pregnant. I’d like to know for planning purposes only – not to stop the pregnancy or to terminate their employment.

    It’s about mutual respect. In Kenyan Employment Law, a woman can’t be terminated for getting pregnant; is entitled to 8 weeks maternity leave, and flexi-hours for breastfeeding. An amendment to this law for 6 months caused an uproar among many male employers. I had a boss who said long maternity leave would turn pregnancy into a profession! His wife left him after that! Hmmmh? Kenya’s labour laws aren’t enforced, and employers get away with blatant abuse of the law, citing high unemployment rates as a reason for termination. When my current nanny got pregnant, (and I got pregnant a month later), my female friends couldn’t understand why I changed her work schedule, gave and paid her maternity leave. Common practice is to fire pregnant employees. When she developed complications during a subsequent pregnancy and was out of work for 3 months, she was on paid sick leave. I was able to do that because I was self-employed.

    Babies in the workplace? Yes, in the cr^eche, but for me, not at your desk. I’ll concentrate on my baby.

    Why did I keep my nanny? Well, childbirth is a natural life process. It’s going to happen. She’s helping me raise my most valuable ‘assets’ – my babies. Days/hours off with pay for baby clinic, sick children, parent/teacher meetings, sports days are worked into our schedules when possible. I have to treat her and her family with respect and receive it in return. She’s been with us for 10 years. And my friends wonder why!

    Maybe if the corporate world saw its operations as their baby, productivity will take on a whole new meaning and dedication.
    Nairobi Kenya

  117. 117 andrew bates
    April 8, 2008 at 19:08

    the question is should your boss know your family plans? I think for the average person – not the natasha kapinski’s – yes you should tell your boss if it’s a small business. on the other hand small businesses should be careful about hiring women of a certain ages. when it comes to a big businesses then I think a woman should take what she can get away with. companies like HSBC can take it.

  118. 118 steve
    April 8, 2008 at 19:09


    Cancer or an accident isn’t a choice. Unless you’ve been raped, you’re probably aware that sex can result in pregnancy just from knowing about the birds and the bees. You cannot get pregnant from playing chess, you cannot get pregnant y drinking coffee, but you can get pregnant from having sex. If you willingly have sex, you have to realize it’s a possibility right? I’ve never met anyone who made the choice to get cancer or have an accident.

  119. 119 Chen
    April 8, 2008 at 20:47

    I heard on the show that someone said something like “having a child is a personal choice of a woman, not a necessity,” and therefore the women have the obligation to tell the employers.
    Having children may be a “personal choice” for an individual woman, but it is a necessity for the human race as a whole. I wonder what happens if all the women choose to not have any baby in order to compete for jobs. If women as a whole bear the more difficult part in the task of continuation of human race, they should also be offered more protection.

  120. April 8, 2008 at 21:26

    Women should have the right to be pregnant and to keep their jobs. Raising a family is a private matter. The market shouldn’t dictate to a woman when she should pregnant or the frequency of their pregnancies.

    Companies should respect the nature of woman and by this, the right to procreation. Enforcing regulations that force women to declare their family planning amounts to interference in personal matters. Economic concerns should be set aside when it comes to the fundamental right to keep or have a job.

    Women shouldn’t pay a high price to become mothers or have more children by sacrificing job opportunities or the chances for a promotion. Some companies argue that pregnant women affect their level of productivity. But it’s highly unlikely that all working women in a company fall pregnant at the same time.

    Companies should provide facilities for pregnant women as well as for mothers with babies. The advantage will be for the future generation as societies with low birth rate won’t be deprived of having more children as a consequence of stringent measures.

    In Europe there is the problem of falling birth rate. France, to encourage women have more children has put on incentives for them. They can have a longer maternity leave and they can return to their jobs no matter how their maternity leave is. Here is a BBC report contrasting maternity leave in UK and France. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/panorama/5079140.stm
    What is interesting in it is this section as far as women are concerned: “France offers all women workers a paid, job -protected maternity leave six weeks before and 10 weeks after the births of the first two children, eight weeks before and 18 weeks after the birth of the third child, 34 weeks (12 prenatally) for twins and 42 weeks (24 prenatally) for triplets or more. Maternity leave, pre and postnatally, is mandatory.
    At the end of maternity leave, the mother or father can take parental leave until the child reaches the age of three, with entitlement to re-integration into the previous or a similar job. Parents receive a parental leave allowance if they interrupt their employment, totally. “
    In the third world country, educated mothers should be encouraged to have children as an educated mother can have a good effect on the education of her child.

    In Morocco, women aren’t required to declare their pregnancies before getting a job. This hasn’t become a problem. The majority of women in Morocco are housewives or they practice informal economic activities either as self-employed or for a small private enterprise. Those working ion the public/state sector are free to have as many children as possible without having their salaries suspended or being replaced by another worker.

    Whatever, the right of women should be preserved. They shouldn’t be forced to choose between being a mother or a worker. Both go hand in hand as long as there are laws allowing them to be mothers without risking of being made redundant or remaining jobless.

  121. 121 steve
    April 9, 2008 at 16:53

    Should Presidential candidates have to reveal their medical records? I mean, if women shouldn’t have to reveal if they are pregnant, should people be demanding candidates submit this information? After all, if someone is likely to drop dead soon, wouldn’t it be a good idea to know that? But is it our business? Should there be outrage about this? Or because you are running for public office, and not taking a private job, you subject yourself to more scrutiny and hence we should have different standards?

  122. 122 Sandra Patricia, Colombia
    April 9, 2008 at 18:10

    Hello! 🙂

    It’s a difficult subject… As told before, it’s a complete unexpected situation in most of the cases, so employers should never give anything for granted if someone says “No, I’ll never have babies…”. And of course that pregnancy will affect the performance and availability of a woman in her workplace and, therefore, the company. However, believe it it or not, being aware of your family plans will affect your employers’ decision, since they’ll prefer a person who seems to be available the whole time instead of a person who prefers spending time with his/her little children. Also, even though it’s true that pregnancy and children should be a men and women’s matter, women are the directly affected. It’s strange to see a man looking after his baby in workhours…

    The awful truth: Employers shouldn’t ask your family plans, but they have to.

  123. 123 Shakhoor Rehman
    April 9, 2008 at 22:33

    Employers should have a pre-planned flexible budget for paying their female employees when they are pregnant/maternity leave etc. There should be no penalty for pregnancy. Even in the animal kingdom the female of the species is not punished for reproducing. Yet even in the 21st Century the punishment for human females is widespread and unrelenting. Our planet is a primitive civilisation.

  124. 124 steve
    April 10, 2008 at 01:20

    pre-planned flexible b udget for paying the female employers when they are pregnant/materity leave? I think it’s time we decide if women are equal or not. Special privileges don’t sound like equality. Men don’t get this kind of paid or unpaid leave, especially for that kind of duration. Are we saying women aren’t equal?

  125. 125 pobeptk
    April 10, 2008 at 10:19

    Because of major disruptions within the office as well as on out product productions in the past, I no longer consider younger women for employment. Whether you consider this fair or not, it’s still a large and serious consideration a employer must consider before hiring a woman.

  126. 126 Roberto
    April 10, 2008 at 13:32

    That being said, why do people have children if they can’t afford to look after them?

    ]]] Regrettably that important question is just rhetorical or never asked for most in the world.

    Women in 3rd world countries seldom have the choice and many of those men not inculturated to think about consequences of having children.

    Most of Western corporate culture not set up for family needs, though the larger INC.s have some benefits for employees they like to tout. Very difficult to raise children properly with mother and father having to work, the divorce rate, single parents, ect.

    Re: Ms Kaplinsky. Clearly she’s in a privileged class and doubtless have nannies lined up for celebrity nanny status. Her situation is hardly that of the average family or parent(s) struggling to raise children.

    Oddly it is the population explosion of the 3rd world’s largely uneducated children combined with the global spread of Western consumerist lifestyles that is creating conditions rife for global warming and wars.

    Need better parents, better leaders and a better business model, but better not bet the farm on that happening anytime soon.

  127. 127 Ros Atkins
    April 10, 2008 at 14:18

    Having children is a CHOICE, MY generation has given ALL of these women the “opportunity” to be professional. As a women that WAS a single “professional” , it is IMPOSSIBLE to spend the time and energy that is needed to be a SUCCESS in two professions. Unfortunately women still have the children so “They” (and their partner) must make the choice of WHO is staying home to RAISE the children and who will be working to support the “family”

    As an employee with a small business, I resent NOT being told about pregnancy, having an employee that had worked part-time, asking for a fulltime position WHEN she knew she WAS pregnant. As a small business EACH position is IMPORTANT, and very specialized. We have many “part-time” male & females that are on call as needed and I would have been happy to continue her in that capacity as she was an “asset”

    What I was left with was a woman that made the entire pregnancy very dramatic, having to re-arrange everyone to accommodate her days off, her time off, and the several weeks post pregnancy.

    It is very unfair ESPECIALLY in a business that employs 2-3 people.

    NOW I have to deal with her schedule.. her child’s schedule.. illness.. etc. and the child is not quite 2 years!

    She will ONLY work 3 days a week and NOW has to have additional time off for “chiropractor” appointments related to an automobile accident.

    She is also a smoker… so takes how many hours a week to smoke? As the employer I’m getting very short changed!

    Connie Greer

    Miami, FL

  128. 128 Eleanor Mitchiner
    April 10, 2008 at 21:11

    Lets look at this in the long term. As a nation the number of trained and employable workers is on the decrease relative to our ageing population. Any woman who has to leave the working population having had a child (children) is a loss to society as a whole – not just her employer.
    However as a society we need children: people who will pay taxes and look after the ageing population when they grow up
    What’s the solution? Make it easier for working women to go back to work after giving birth. Credit them with the ability to make working flexibly work for their employer as well as them. Provide them with decent and affordable childcare. AND don’t make them pariahs for getting pregnant and giving birth in the first place.

    Every woman I know who has had children (myself included) would have be 100% upfront with her employer about her family plans if she didn’t know that this would have a direct effect on her employment, promotion and any payrise. I say we should help the employers not see pregnancy as an impediment but an opportunity. Three small children later I am harder working, more productive and more focussed at work than I ever was before. I have to be. I need my job and I am terrified that If I showed for a minute that juggling it all was hard that I will be judged less by my employers and colleages.

    Having kids sometimes feels like a shameful secret but it can be of great benefit to employers if only they were encouraged to play the long game. Women with children are often highly skilled and more loyal than their younger/ childfree counterparts. Employers should be encouraging them to feel comfortable enough to share their plans for a family so that managing any short term disruption (or perceived disruption) is possible and accepted.

    Until that time I’d encourage any woman thinking of having a family whilst looking for a new job to hide her wedding ring and keep quiet.

  129. 129 George USA
    April 11, 2008 at 18:56

    Forget your imaginary exceptions!

    It boils down to:

    1, There is no reason a woman who wants to work cannot work through pregnancy deliver and return, and even bring the infant to work if it has a nursery and breast feed it.

    You have a rock solid employee there.

    2. Employers who ask this are the exact employers who put “Support the Troops” ribbons on their SUV, but would not hire a National Guard, Reserve, or vet of this war.

    They think the pregnant mother would cost them money, just as they think the reservist or vet would cost them money.

    But both the pregnant or recent birthed mother and the returned veteran are the best employees in the Nation.

    I do know for fact that many of the justifications to exclude both mother and veteran fearing costs are FALSE.

    To answer the original question:

    Should your boss know your family plans?

    Not just no, but hell no!

  130. 130 George USA
    April 11, 2008 at 19:19

    The bottom line-

    Pregnant women who wish to work before, during, and after their pregnancy are the most stable, reliable

    exactly like the National Guard, Reserve, and returning veteran are your best employees in America.

    Companies who hire these groups prosper and operate smoothly.

    Companies who do not hire them lose chasing imaginary profits and are poorly run.

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