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Want or need a new job? Being pregnant shouldn’t stop you finding a suitable role. Here we’ll share our top tips for finding a job while pregnant, along with information about pregnancy discrimination and how to inform an employer.
Our first tip is to put yourself first! Consider your needs and think about what you want in a job. Parenting comes with a lot of responsibility and life changes. Think about your obligations and how they may affect your potential work.
Answering these questions will help you narrow down your search criteria and make it easier for you to find a suitable role.
Put your pregnancy aside for the moment and think about yourself as an employee. Why should an employer hire you? Think about all of your fantastic qualities and make sure you include them on your CV or job application. Even better, have previous employers ready to give you a reference and vouch for you.
Just like anyone else, you need to demonstrate your value to secure a job interview. At this stage, no one needs to know you’re pregnant. It’s all about your skills and experience.
As stated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, ‘an employer must treat you in exactly the same way as any other job applicant.’
When applying for a job, it’s illegal for them to reject you because you are pregnant (pregnancy discrimination), likely to be pregnant (sex discrimination) or about to go on maternity leave (maternity discrimination).
They cannot refuse to interview you or appoint you for a job because you are pregnant. It is also illegal for them to give you a lower salary or less favourable terms because you are pregnant.
It’s also completely up to you whether you tell a prospective employer that you’re pregnant. You are not legally required to.
You may want to consider how far along you are. If you’re in the early stages of pregnancy and haven’t even told loved ones yet, there’s absolutely no reason you’d need to tell an employer. If you’re a little further along and showing, it may be something you’d like to address but you are not obliged to.
Consider whether it will affect the hiring decision. It shouldn’t but sadly that doesn’t always mean it won’t happen. If you feel you have to hide your pregnancy as it may affect their decision, ask yourself if that’s the kind of a company you really want to work with?
If you are happy to reveal your pregnancy, consider the situation from the employer’s perspective. Have an action plan in place to alleviate any potential concerns they may have e.g. you not returning to work after maternity leave.
If you feel comfortable in doing so, discuss going back to work after maternity leave, how you will make the transition and the potential for things like ‘keep in touch’ days.
Remember, you don’t need to let your pregnancy dominate the conversation. Keep things professional. Focus on your skills, experience and why you’d be an asset to the company.
If you don’t disclose your pregnancy at the interview stage, you may feel you want to share the news after the company makes you an offer but again, you’re not obliged to.
Job offers tend to open up the opportunity for negotiation, so you may want to discuss things like maternity leave, return to work and the planning process.
If you’re going to require a flexible working arrangement like reducing hours at work due to childcare or applying for part time work after maternity leave, it may be something you want to discuss with the employer during negotiations. After all, you only really want to work with a family-friendly employer. If they really want you, they’ll accommodate your needs.
It is also worth considering that telling your employer when you accept the position provides a foundation of honesty from the start. It’s something a good employer will value from their employee.
Along with securing a job while pregnant, you’re likely to be concerned about maternity leave and statutory maternity pay (SMP). If you get a job when you’re pregnant and want to take maternity leave, you will need to tell your employer that you’re pregnant by the end of the 15th week before your baby is due. Some may choose to tell their employers earlier so they can benefit from paid time off for midwife appointments and antenatal care. If you start a new job after the 15th week before your baby is due, it’s best to tell your employer straight away.
To qualify for statutory maternity pay, you need to have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before your baby is due.
If you don’t qualify for SMP, see if you can apply for Maternity Allowance instead.
We wish you the best of luck in your job search. If you’re looking for a place to start, we highly recommend checking out our top employers, who are committed to offering family-friendly, flexible working.