According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) new statistics have revealed British employers are “living in the dark ages” and have “worrying attitudes” towards recruiting women.
The survey of 1,106 senior decision makers in businesses revealed around a third (36%) of private sector employers agreed that it is reasonable to ask women about their plans to have children in the future during recruitment.
The statistics also revealed that six in 10 employers (59%) agree that a woman should have to disclose whether she is pregnant during the recruitment process, and almost half (46%) of employers agreed it is reasonable to ask women if they have young children during the recruitment process.
The survey also found that when it comes to maternity discrimination in the workplace, 44% of employers agreed that women should work for an organisation for at least a year before deciding to have children. The same number agreed that women who have had more than one pregnancy while in the same job, can be a “burden” to their team.
Financially, 41% of employers agreed that pregnancy in the workplace puts “an unnecessary cost burden” on the workplace.
The EHRC said it is calling on employers to put a “stake in the ground” to eliminate these attitudes on pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace for good.
Rebecca Hilsenrath, CEO of the EHRC, said: “It is a depressing reality that, when it comes the rights of pregnant woman and new mothers in the workplace, we are still living in the dark ages. We should all know very well that it is against the law not to appoint a woman because she is pregnant or might become pregnant.
“Yet we also know women routinely get asked questions around family planning in interviews. It’s clear that many employers need more support to better understand the basics of discrimination law and the rights of pregnant women and new mothers.”