Thing to Ponder: Pregnant Women in the Workforce

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by TheGuardianofArlon, Mar 2, 2011.

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  1. TheGuardianofArlon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 26, 2007
    star 6

    I know that in other countries, pregnant women can get "paid time off" because they're pregnant. Although if the woman chooses to work, I guess thats her choice.

    Now here in America, I think some may get paid time off, but not always. In fact the women want to work or have to work. I think there has been cases of women who have been threatened to be fired or have been fired because of it. Or if they take the time off, they are like if they were fired, because the company won't pay them for the time off. So the woman goes to work because she needs the money.

    Others work no matter what. I member watching this thing on youtube that a woman in a show (I think Phantom) continued to be in it till the day she was to give birth.

    My personal thing for me is that if my wife is pregnant I wouldn't want her to work simply because I don't want her to be stressed or get hurt or anything. If its a desk job..eh..maybe. But even that is a stretch. I think that around the 7 month period is probably when (depending, but on her choice) of when she can stop working, and yeah get paid time off.

    But the real decision I guess is for the husband and wife to decide if she will still work.

    What do you think? Should pregnant women be allowed to work? And should they get paid time off?
  2. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Of course they should be allowed to work. As for getting paid time-off, that should only come in the last stages of the pregnancy, which I'm guessing is different for each woman. I'm not a woman, and I'm not married, so I don't really know. I didn't even know this was an issue, I assumed vacation days or sick days or maybe even maternity leave would cover those last few uncomfortable days/weeks of a pregnancy. I think we need a female perspective in here!
  3. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    I was a public school teacher. If I wanted time off with full pay for maternity leave, I took my sick leave. We accumulated one sick day per month, so 10 per year, so it depends on how sickly you are as to how many days you had to take as paid leave.

    I had problems carrying my older son and ended up on bed rest for nine weeks prior to his birth. I ran out of sick leave (I have health issues anyway so I didn't have much to begin with) and I was able to get short term disability, which was 50 percent of my pay. Since I had a C-section, that disability was good for eight weeks post-delivery.

    My understanding is that most companies do not have as good benefits as I had.

    As far as how much leave we should have, I could take either side of the debate. My concern with mandating that companies offer X amount of leave is that they will try to find ways to not hire women of childbearing age/fire pregnant women so they won't have to pay up. I would think that that needs to be addressed. I also think that paternity leave needs to be offered as well. My husband had to take vacation time when both of our children were born.

    On the other hand, I find it interesting that the political branch that does not support expanding maternity leave, also generally does not support expanding access to either birth control or abortion. If we really want to take the stance that it's a woman's choice to have a child, then we need to make sure that she has every option available to make the choice not to have a child until she can afford it. Other than abstinence, which is beyond unrealistic.

    Also, Germany and Denmark, which both offer long maternity leaves, are doing better than we are fiscally. So are Canada and Australia from what I understand, and I believe maternity leave is a year there.
  4. WormieSaber Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2000
    star 5
    I guess it would depend on what your benefits are like at your job. You should be entitled to some kind of maternity leave. Aside of from that, in the United States there is something called State Disability and you can actually receive state benefits for up to a year. It isn't full pay but it is close to it. While on State Disability your job has to keep you employed for up to 6 months. If you do not return by then, then that job can terminate your position. In the U.S. there are different avenues for benefits, just got to look for it. Some women get become so ill during pregnancy that she simply cannot work. It's not her fault, and for the safety of the pregnancy, she probably shouldn't if she can get the benefits and timing right.
  5. chibiangi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2002
    star 4
    I think both men and women should be entitled to paid maternity and paternity leave--6 months for each. It would cover the first year of development and encourage male participation in child rearing. Plus, it's fair. But we live in a country where a week of paid vacation a year is a "benefit" so yeah, this will never happen.

  6. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Here's one topic where gender inequities go both ways. One could suggest that a significant maternal leave benefit compensates for the glass ceiling, but that doesn't evenly apply to everyone. Some women put their careers ahead of having children, especially in Japan. Some will have more children than they can financially support.

    I'm also unsure as to where the money comes from to pay for maternity leave. I would appreciate knowing whether it's from medicaid, out of the corporation's pocket, or a combination of the two. If the money comes out of a corporation's budget, then it would greatly discourage them from hiring young women for that very reason. I genuinely don't believe in giving women paid sick leave because they're pregnant, but corporations should be expected to grant time off to women for their 'motherly' responsibilities. I'm probably biased in this regard because I rarely take time off (I got perfect attendance all throughout high school, by the way) and don't think it's appropriate for people to get paid for work they don't do. That's not to say I don't believe in allowances for time off or lifting of sanctions, but I honestly would prefer a higher per/hour wage over paid time off. Sometimes accidents happen and people find themselves short of cash and unable to work, which is why you have paid sick leave; but I feel people should be encouraged to take responsibility for themselves.

    This may sound pro-corporation or anti-working class, but I'm not. What corporations don't invest in paid sick leave would go towards their employees' pay checks.

    Unfortunately there are two states where they have real maternity problems, Japan and Italy. In these states there is a demographic imbalance, mainly attributed to women having fewer children and with longer life spans for the elderly. In such states, extending maternal benefits would be beneficial for the stability of their societies. Otherwise the world can due with many fewer people. In countries like the US, I think an appropriate course of action would be to grant benefits to women only for their first child.

    If working women decide to have a second or more, there should be virtually no maternal benefits the second/third time around... and here's why. If they are financially stable and can reasonably maintain more children, then they should be able to get by without a few months of paid leave. If they/she can't have a child under such circumstances without paid maternal leave, then they/she shouldn't be having a second child unless they know they're financially stable. It's always best to error on the side of caution, and most states can due with fewer people. Those who cannot afford more than one child should not be having a second, therefore it's good to discourage giving such incentives beyond the first.
  7. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    A few points:

    1. Refusing to hire young women because they might get pregnant and need maternity leave is discrimination, pure and simple, and such a corporation should and probably would get sued for the hiring practice you described.

    2. Needing maternity leave after a child is born does not mean that a woman cannot afford children. You make several statements valuing hard work, but then suggest that women with children should just not work at all outside the home. You are also suggesting that child-bearing should only be for the elite or for women who have careers that they can put on hold for a few years. (My career was like that, and I am at home with my kids, but not every career can be resumed a few years later.).

    3. If you want to encourage population control, ensuring equitable access to birth control and education is a much better way to do that than telling a woman with a day-old infant to go back to work or get fired. (How is such a policy not pro-corporation and anti- worker?). No woman ever says, "Hey, my company has great maternity benefits, I think I'll have more kids.". If any did, the population growth in European countries would not be at 0 to negative, people would be having 10 kids each. As it is, Americans actually have more children than Europeans on average in spite of our pro-corporation leave policies.

    4. Is it only pregnancy that you feel this way about? Should people who, say, have to have surgery also not get paid for missing work?
  8. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Just because something is discrimination doesn't mean that it is necessarily bad. You need to ask whether or not it is justified.

    For example, you would likely look at things differently if you were hiring a long-term employee than if you were looking to hire someone for a short-term contract. It's easier for a business to absorb the absence of an employee during day-to-day operations than it is to have a critical team member absent during a contract rebid, or just before a product delivery date. Each has a different impact on the business, and you can't expect an employer to treat the latter like it's the former.

    Similarly, it makes rational business sense not to hire a woman who is currently pregnant, especially if you are dealing with time sensitive projects. If you know that one candidate is going to require a prolonged absence (for whatever reason) and you have a tight schedule, you need to pick the person who is more likely to be able to help you meet that schedule. Is that fair to the pregnant woman? No, but to force them to hire the pregnant woman isn't fair to the employer either. In the end, the effect on the employer would be larger and affect more people.

    All of this is not to say that the mere possibility of pregnancy should be sufficient to not hire someone, but simply to point out that it's not something that you can just ignore.

    Kimball Kinnison
  9. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    That scenario would make sense, and I don't really see much inherent unfairness in "We cannot hire you for this job because we're going to be reaching a critical point in the project right around the time of your due date, but we would consider you for future projects after you have finished your maternity leave." That's very different than an employer hiring Joe instead of Jill simply because Jill is a 30-year-old married woman and might get pregnant at some point.
  10. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    It's not discrimination if you favor a male with the same credentials as a woman. It's not as though one can just downright reject someone based on gender, but if you were considering one of dozens who applied for a particular position... you're probably going to have women who are already mothers, unmarried, or otherwise more favorable candidates. It's not like they're just downright going to reject potential/to be mothers, but they would certainly consider it before hiring.

    I don't get where you're coming from on this. I'm saying that if a working family can make ends meet with a mother/father tending to the children while the other continues in the work force... then losing paid maternity leave should not be a factor. If a working mother is expecting to get tens of thousands to support the family for that time she's out of the work force... if a family can't work without that, then it's not financially wise for them to have another child.

    I would support the notion for maternity leave with a single child, but the second or third are increasingly like an embellishment.

    You're not getting my point. I'm not talking about those teen/accidental pregnancies; I'm talking about parents not building up a nest egg before they decide to have a child. Discouraging maternal leave is like adding incentives for potential parents to wait on having a child until they're financially/emotionally prepared. One of the most significant problems with young/single parents is that they start off their family very early and often run into problems of which are multiplied in difficulty because they lose their jobs/get divorced and still have children to take care of. If they aren't well established, then they would have nothing to fall back on. If a family wants more children and they're financially stable for two/three/four kids... it's entirely up to them.
  11. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I'm with Yuthura on a fair part of this. For example, I find it utterly ridiculous that I get paid time off for a part time job (due to unions in the city of LA). My mom has always thought it's ridiculous that she gets paid vacation time on a part time job (she works local school district). I think that goes across the board in about how Yuthura outlines; higher wages, and allow people to miss work if need be, but not simply paying them for time they're not working. Obviously, a job that pays hourly is a different beast than a job thats a fixed salary.
    Personally though, I'd MUCH rather be paid more and have the ability to take time off work if need be than have a paternity leave option.
  12. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    How is it not discrimination when you have two equally qualified people and choose the male just because he's a male?

    If an employer refuses to hire a female simply because she's a female, all other factors being equal, then it is gender discrimination, and as far as I know, is illegal. The only job I can think of that a woman would not qualify for simply due to having two X chromosomes would be Viagra tester.

    And maternity leave is not "tens of thousands of dollars." As far as maternity leave for a second or third child, maternity leave covers recovery from childbirth, which is the same or even worse with subsequent children.

    Again, what if someone needs two surgeries of a similar type? Would you support covering the first one but not the second one? Why should childbirth be different? Both of my children were born by C-section, and I was actually given a longer reduced-activities period by my doctor after my second child was born.

    As far as waiting to have a child, to paraphrase George Bailey, do you know how long it takes a working man to save $5000? People in certain underpaid lines of work and/or in certain expensive sections of the country may not be in a position to build the nest egg of which you speak. And the time in which women can have children, particularly have them safely, does run out.

    And adults have accidental pregnancies as well. No birth control is 100 percent effective other than abstinence, and advocating that adults abstain if they don't want children or can't afford them is unrealistic at best.

    Again, for the sake of full disclosure, I was 33 when I had my first child and 35 with my second, both were planned, and I am at home. But I also live in one of the cheapest sections of the country, and I'm married to a man with a good job with union benefits. That's the other aspect--health insurance, which can be tied to the mother's employer. If we had a universal health care program in this country, your solution would actually be feasible for more people.
  13. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Again, though, it varies depending on circumstances, and not just involving women who are currently pregnant.

    A lot of people work as contract employees or as contractors. If you are an employer with a 1-year contract to deliver a product or service, there is a higher risk to your contract if you hire a woman who might get pregnant, even if she isn't pregnant now.

    My own experience with my wife's recent pregnancy illustrates this sort of risk. A little over a year ago, my coworker (the other system administrator on my team) quit so he could travel Africa for a year. Even though we immediately started looking for a replacement, it took the better part of a year to find someone who could pass the background checks. A few months after he left, my wife got pregnant. When we announced that last June, one of my boss's first questions for me was "What will we do if the servers go down while your wife is in labor?" Even after we filled the position, it still required months of training to get him up to speed so he could handle "on call" issues. During that entire time, my boss kept asking me "what if your wife goes into labor?"

    This is especially critical for us because we provide 24/7 support for Air Traffic Operations. When our servers go down, planes don't exactly fall out of the sky, but a lot of people react as though they do. If we hadn't been able to hire a second admin and train him in time, we simply wouldn't have been able to afford for me to take any time off when my son was born last month. (As it is, when I took a week "off" to go to a family reunion last year, I still had to work every day through a cell phone Internet connection, just to keep things running.)

    We were lucky and able to dodge that bullet. If things had been just a little different, it could have been very bad for us as a company, possibly causing us to lose our current contract when it comes up for rebid.

    Kimball Kinnison
  14. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I think his point wasn't that it's cheaper the second time around, but that if one is having multiple children, one should either be in such a position to be able to afford to not work as needed, or shouldn't be continuing to have kids.

    I also don't see the surgery analogy. My job isn't paying for me to have surgery, whereas it would be paying for a woman to have maternity leave. Unless you're also going to suggest that women pay some sort of pregnancy insurance premium (which seems ridiculous), it's not equivalent.

    And I think that's the sign they should either move or get a better job w/ better training. Not all jobs are MEANT to be jobs where you support a family off of it, imo. One should either be content with that, or improve job skills, not have kids so that the job that already wasn't enough money is now not enough to provide for even MORE people. It's simply irresponsible.
  15. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Again, married adults have accidental pregnancies as well. Maybe a couple's first child is planned but the second one involved birth control failure or something. I'm not sure why one would support maternity leave for a first child but not subsequent children when the childbirth recovery time is the same or greater. Does anyone think that it is easier to recover from childbirth the second time? The idea behind maternity leave is to allow a woman adequate time to recover from childbirth.

    The jobs that pay maternity leave, usually do have some paid time off if one needs to be out for surgery or other illness. That was my point. I was asking if Yuthura would support, say, paid time off for someone who needed to recover from a hysterectomy (an example of a surgery whose recovery time is about the same as maternity leave).

    That's easy to say, but both moving and getting more education for a better job also cost money, which the person might not have. You all seem to be saying that having children is only for the upper middle class. I'm curious if that's what you mean.
  16. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Ok, I suppose the relevant thign here is... are we talking paid or unpaid?

    I may be misreading him, but he seemed to be saying he has an issue with any paid time off when he said he doesn't "think it's appropriate for people to get paid for work they don't do"

    If they can't afford those options, then I question if that's a healthy environment for a child. Yahoo has an article here that says "conservative estimates peg the cost of raising a child at $9,200 to $10,300 per year to age 17". If you can't afford increased education or moving, then how does one afford the cost of raising a child? If my statement of "you shouldn't have a kid you can't afford" is an issue, then I'm not sure how the reverse, of "it is ok to have a kid you can't properly take care of" isn't of greater concern. Which isn't to say affordability shouldn't be worked on, but it would parallel that I think college should be cheaper, but still think that just because it SHOULD cost less, it's still irresponsible to get into large debt because of it.
  17. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    I'm skeptical of those estimates. Based on those, my husband and I would have spent over $80,000 on our kids already. Based on my husband's income level, if we had spent that much on our kids, we would have never been able to pay our mortgage. And I think we're pretty generous with our kids.

    At any rate, maybe the person can't afford a move across the country, an increased education and the cost of raising a child. That doesn't mean the child would not be loved and cared for.
  18. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I wanted to go with some fixed numbers from a source and that's what I found, although if you'd like to put forward a different source, by all means. USDA puts it at only slightly less.

    And, I'm by no means saying those 3 would be concurrent, but that the first two should happen, if needed, before the third does. And a kid can be loved plenty, but still is going to have costs associated. Clothes, food, medical care, etc. That's all part of "cared for", and based off of any numbers I can find, if you can't afford any fashion of education or to relocate to somewhere better, then you can't afford the cost associated with a kid.
    I'd also point out.... a mortgage is generally considered part of one of those costs, since housing is a part of it. What's enough space for 2 people isn't enough space for 3+.
  19. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    The figures make sense with the mortgage included, but no, I don't have another source.

    And I agree that if someone can't afford clothes, food and medical care for a child, the person should not plan to have a child--but sometimes the mother working allows her to afford clothes, food and medical care (especially if she is the one who carries the health insurance for the family).
  20. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Well, although this again comes back to, are we talking necessarily paid maternity leave, or just the ability to leave the job around the time of giving birth then having the job to go back to as a guarantee?
  21. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    I don't have a huge problem with a company not having a standard "paid maternity leave," but I do think that what I was given was reasonable. There was no "paid maternity leave," but I could take my sick days, short and long term disability (short term was about half of my pay, long term was about 10 percent of it), have my health insurance covered as long as I was using sick leave or disability, and I could take up to a year off and still have my job when I return. The year would be unpaid, and the school system could therefore hire someone to take my place for that year.

    At the very minimum, twelve weeks of unpaid leave with health insurance covered and a guarantee that the job will be there when she returns. Pretty sure it's federal law that pregnancy has to be treated like any other illness and therefore anyone with sick leave benefits can take her sick leave.
  22. chibiangi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2002
    star 4
    Not hiring me because I might get pregnant is 100% gender discrimination and I do not really understand how it can be interpreted as anything else.
  23. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Alright, what's the difference between favorability and discrimination? If you have multiple people aiming for the same position, you'll chose the one who best fits with the position. If you've got a person with a mental condition who outwardly appears threatening(like one person I know) and applying for a position that involves working with other people... would you really be discriminating if you favor another person who's just as qualified? It could be argued that the person's disability in itself many not hinder his ability to work, but it could impact how the others are able to work with him. Now this person I'm thinking of happens to be very bright, seemingly having a photographic memory, but I can say that his mannerisms make him difficult to be around. His behaviors are also not conducive for working with others.

    This is favorability.

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2011/03/24/dnt.pregnant.cop.fired.WAGT?hpt=T2

    This is outright discrimination, and fits perfectly with the topic.
  24. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Your person with a mental illness scenario isn't the same for this reason: the job you described involves working with other people, and the person you described cannot work with other people. Therefore the person does not have the skill to perform the job.

    What skill does a female not have, simply based on the fact that she's female and has a uterus? Is "having a Y chromosome" in any job description anywhere?

    Kimball's description of not hiring a pregnant woman for a short-term contract would also not be pure misogyny, it would be based on the fact that the woman in question would be on leave at a critical point during the contract.

    But refusing to hire a female, simply because she is a female, and the company might at some undetermined date have to pay maternity leave in the undetermined scenario that she might get pregnant? Misogyny, pure and simple. To use another example, men are more prone to heart disease than women. How well would it fly if a company refused to hire a man because he might get heart disease in the future and therefore might be out of work for weeks at a time due to having bypass surgery?

    Maybe employers should start asking potential recruits when was the last time they ate greasy high-cholesterol food... [face_thinking]
  25. Epicauthor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2002
    star 4
    And to broaden on AF's previous post.

    I believe the state gives a woman disability leave for her pregnancy. This falls under the same category as any disability leave where there will be a temporary time when the affected will be unable to work.

    Not hiring a woman for a position because she might get pregnant is akin to not hiring someone for a job who is into desert racing because he might get into an accident or someone who is into sports because they might get hurt in their adult softball league. Disability is disability.

    What you are suggesting is illegal because pregnancy falls under temporary disability and is treated the same.

    Look at it this way...they child isn't what causes the disability...its the preparation of a medical procedure, having that procedure done, and the recovery time from that procedure.
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