Employment advice for pregnant women

I’ve been out of work since October 2009, but have been searching for a job for a while now with no luck. I have just discovered I’m pregnant and now I’m unsure of what to do. I haven’t been claiming benefits and my husband and I are now struggling financially, but who will employ a pregnant woman? Please can you advise me what I can do?

It’s obviously a very worrying time money-wise for you and your husband. Even though your pregnancy adds to some of the difficulties. I hope it’s also lightening the gloom and giving you both lots to look forward to.
You’re right in assuming employers would be wary of taking on someone for a permanent job whom they knew (or suspected) to be pregnant.

I think you should focus your job search on short-time ‘temp’ employment (e.g. contracts lasting days.) You’ve a better than average chance of finding suitable short-term work as most people don’t want to work very short contracts. At the same time, very short assignments will suit you quite well as you’lll need to fit in ante-natal appointments etc and may find yourself getting more tired as the pregnancy progresses.

‘Temp’ rates are not really good, but at least they’ll be at or above the minimum statutory hourly rate plus ‘holiday’ pay. At present, any money’s better than nothing, isn’t it?

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Be warned, it takes a lot of effort, organisation and planning to put together 30 hours plus paid work each week when you’re working for a number of employers on lots of little jobs. You’ll need to put feelers out to lots of recruitment consultancies and to network like mad amongst friends and family to give yoruself a chance of getting 30 hours plus paid work each week.

I’d suggest you contact at least 20 local recruitment consultancies hiring in your line of work and press them hard for information on how likely it is each would be able to provide you with the flow of work you’re looking for. Keep in touch at least once a week with each of these consultancies to follow up possible opportunities and express your interest in the next assignment.

In your shoes, initially I’d not give the pregnancy as my reason for seeking short-term temp jobs; instead, I’d emphasises my desire to keep my employment options open (e.g. “In the longer term, I’m hoping to get back to permanent work at a more senior level – however, currently there just aren’t the jobs around so I’m having to be flexible.”)

In giving this advice, I’m assuming the type of work you’re likely to apply for isn’t of the kind to put a pregnant employee and her child at special risk of harm (e.g. the job doesn’t involve heavy lifting, contact with hazardous chemicals etc.)

Have you checked with the Citizens Advice Bureau whether it would be in your interest to claim whatever benefits you can? You may be putting at risk goodies like National Insurance credits, exemptions from NHS dental charges etc at risk if you don’t claim.

Good luck!


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