Maternity is a right

I have to say I am disappointed in the Secret Marketer’s reaction to a pregnant employee. It’s a good job he is secret, as his opinion that “should people choose to manipulate maternity leave in their favour you can end up in a right mess” is hardly something his HR department would be happy to hear him say in public.

I work in marketing and have done for 13 years. I have just returned from ten months’ maternity leave, and will be leaving to have our second baby a mere eight months after my return.

Am I manipulating the system? Will I leave my employer in a “right mess”?

Possibly. But my question is/ What am I supposed to do about it? My employment contract gives me the right to take maternity leave, as many times as I choose to do so. I work full time, juggling child care around conference calls, being “mummy” between 4pm and 7pm and then going back online to finish the day’s work at 10pm or 11pm.

I have my suspicions that people within my organisation will harbour the same feelings as the Secret Marketer. It’s an age-old problem, and will exist as long as people continue to work and have children in other words, forever. I am assuming Mr Marketer is not looking for a return to the 1930s when as soon as a woman was married she left employment, to avoid fertility-related problems?

I’m delighted that this time the Secret Marketer will be “particularly motivated” to keep his star brand manager’s role open to her. Handy that, as it is after all her right to return to her job. I do, however, feel for those individuals whom he does not consider stars. What will happen to their jobs while they are out of the business?

This secret prejudice against mothers needs to stop if we are to avoid the brain drain that will result from talented women choosing to work for people who won’t suspect them of manipulating the system just because they want a family.

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