Is it fair to prevent pregnant women from only working for a few months? Questions and answers for pregnant job seekers.
Over on the Digital Eve Israel mailing list, a reader asked:
I would like to know what is the protocol for a woman doing a job search who happens to be pregnant.
What legal obligation does she have report her pregnancy, assuming it is not obvious? Likewise, at what point during the interview process should she mention it, as it probably isn't very nice to spring it on the employer after she's been hired/signed a contract?
Has anyone been in this situation before? If a pregnant woman needs work, she can't be expected to wait until after her child is born, right?
Although these questions were about pregnant job search in Israel specifically, the answers are the same anywhere that you're reading this.
Israeli law in this case (Hebrew) is similar to that of the US or most other Western country in saying that:
So in Israel you can get a long-term job without mentioning your 6-month pregnancy, but when you finally start the job, you will immediately need to tell your new employer what you've been hiding from them throughout the hiring process.
Is that really the way you'd want to start a new job?
With that in mind, here's what I recommend:
Don't even look, unless it's for a job that will begin after the baby is born.
Instead, focus on growing your personal brand by building relationships and improving your skills so that you'll be better placed to find work quickly once you're ready to go back to work. And get some rest too! You're about to have a baby and you're going to need it.
Only look for short-term work, preferably of a kind that could lead to longer-term work later (at the same company, one of their clients, or elsewhere in the industry). By aiming for short-term work that ends comfortably before the baby is due, the pregnancy is no longer an obstacle for the employer and you put yourself on par with anyone else competing for those jobs.
Job search like everyone else. Don't volunteer any information, but don't make any conscious effort to hide your pregnancy or it will only come back to haunt you.
Now what should you do if they ask?
As an illegal question (in Israel, according to the Equal Opportunities at Work Law), you have every right to refuse to answer. Depending on how the hiring process has gone so far and in particular, how the question was asked, you may prefer to respond. In that case, here's what you need to do.
Treat the question like any other concern an employer asks about. Try to understand where the concern is coming from and what you can say that will make the concern go away or at least, be reduced as much as possible.
Hopefully you've even anticipated the possibility of being asked this question and will have a reply ready.
The hiring process is a time to build trust, and it's important to distinguish between doing the right thing and doing the smart thing. By understanding employers' worries about hiring pregnant job seekers, you can best respond to their fears and emphasize why you're still a terrific candidate for the job who will be worth waiting for after your eventual maternity leave is over.
If you liked this article, you'll enjoy Should You Put Age or Marital Status on Your Israeli Resume?.
Have you experienced any job search problems related to pregnancy? Share your story in the comments.
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