Pregnancy And Employment: Everything You Need To Know
Pregnancy And Employment: The usual concern regarding her employment when a woman becomes pregnant is the threat of dismissal upon reporting the pregnancy. Although we are indeed beginning to glimpse the first efforts to facilitate conciliation and equalize employment opportunities for women and men, there is still much to be done in this area.
For all these reasons, we focus on the most controversial professional movements for pregnant women or considering becoming pregnant but have certain concerns.
Pregnancy and employment
Birth rates in our country are decreasing at a worrying speed. In 2020, with a figure of 338,435 children born, we found a decrease of 6.15% compared to 2019. The number of children per woman stands at 1.18, one of the lowest fertility rates in the world, and this means that, as a society, we are not guaranteed a stable population pyramid.
The origin of this situation lies in the lack of economic security of young people in our country and in the difficulties they encounter when entering the labor market. In the case of women, as the number of children under 12 years of age increases, the employment rate decreases (According to the INE for women between 25 and 49 years of age without children of that age, the employment rate in the year 2020 was 72.1% and is reduced to 67.2% in the case of having children under 12 years). This, added to the lack of work-life balance and job insecurity makes maternity and employability difficult to reconcile factors.
Do I have to notify you that I am pregnant before signing a contract?
Although the pregnancy will affect the future relationship between the company and the employee, it is part of the latter’s private life, so the law does not contemplate the obligation to communicate this fact. If the company is required to obtain such information, it will violate Organic Law 3/2007, of March 22, for the effective equality of women and men.
In any case, it is true that if we consider a long-term relationship with said company, it is worth evaluating the option of approaching this point with transparency whenever possible: sometimes the gestation is so recent that the candidate does not want to communicate it, even You are not aware of your pregnancy, or the position you are going to cover is temporary.
The pregnancy would not affect the contractual relationship. But even if we focus on the case of a woman already incorporated into the company’s staff, she would not have an obligation to notify it.
When we talk about pregnancy and employment, we find ourselves in a situation in which the worker, knowing her relationship with the company, must assess the advantages and disadvantages of sharing said information, which can range from the cancellation of the contract to a change of position or facilitation of tasks or flexibility of some aspects (whenever possible within their professional activity).
Regardless of the relationship, it is important to remember that each company has its peculiarities and a way of approaching these situations, but the law protects pregnant women.
If I haven’t reported it, can they fire me when they find out I’m pregnant?
A woman cannot be legally fired for being pregnant, it would be null dismissal, but if the company feels that the worker has hidden this information during the signing of the contract, it can be negatively biased towards her and lead to dismissal for other reasons or argue that the trial period has not passed (in any circumstance the company’s decisions would have to be justified and demonstrable).
It is important to remember that when a dismissal occurs due to a worker’s pregnancy (although other causes are alleged), we can speak of discriminatory reasons, which makes the release illegal. The company can be sued in court . . In this situation, the employee has to be sure and be able to demonstrate that her performance has been adequate since the company will normally present objective causes: repeated tardiness, low productivity…
In the event of a trial, the company will have to demonstrate in court the situations that led to the dismissal, and the judge will understand that they are compelling reasons to dismiss an employee. If the employee wins the case, the company will have an obligation to reinstate her. This same situation would apply when the forgiven person was on maternity or paternity leave or breastfeeding.
Will I have more legal protection when I am pregnant?
Contrary to what is generally thought, being pregnant or having a child does not imply total immunity in the face of possible dismissal. That is, the employee has to continue fulfilling her obligations during the working day and her commitments with the company. And not commit abuse.
Despite everything, there is indeed legal protection since the Workers’ Statute contemplates situations of protection for pregnant women, pregnancies at risk or derived illness, and people on maternity or paternity leave.
According to articles 53 and 55, dismissals for objective reasons and disciplinary dismissals due to said situations will be considered null. This rule will also apply to discharges within nine months after a minor’s birth, adoption, or foster care.
Once the legal limits are known, it will be the personal decision of the candidate whether or not to provide information about her pregnancy. On some occasions, the need to get the job will prevail. On others, the need to establish a relationship of trust with the company. The motivations for opting for one path or another will be very varied.
What, in any case, must exist is a commitment to good execution, which in short, is usually the best guarantee of permanence in a company.
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