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Annie Hayes

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Pregnancy gives candidates the wrong start

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A whopping 76% of bosses say they would not take on a new recruit if they knew they were going to fall pregnant within six months of starting.

The findings, by the Employment Law Advisory Services (ELAS), also reveal that more than 50% of bosses take into account the chances of a new member of staff falling pregnant before employing them.

This report comes in the wake of £1 million newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky telling her new bosses at Channel Five News that she was pregnant just weeks after starting.

ELAS commissioned the survey of 1,100 company bosses and personnel managers after finding that they were dealing with an increase in the number of cases involving pregnancy and new employees. These included cases where candidates were asked in interview if they had plans for a family – something banned under sex discrimination law – and jobs withdrawn between interview and starting the post because of a pregnancy – again a practice that is banned.

The ELAS survey also found that 68% would like more rights to quiz candidates about their plans for a family.

Only 5% of the bosses have employed someone knowing the candidate is pregnant and 86% said they would feel cheated if someone started a job and announced within weeks they were pregnant.

Peter Mooney, head of consultancy at ELAS, said: “It is a very dangerous area and you simply cannot ask the question about plans for a family in an interview. For many bosses it is down to the bottom line – a pregnant member of staff will cost money. However a visit to a tribunal can be even more costly.”

In similar news, HR Zone recently reported on findings by The Fawcett Society, which showed that as many as 30,000 women a year lose their jobs simply for being pregnant.

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Annie Hayes

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