Hardly done by – call it discrimination!

Let me start with a little story.  When my first daughter started university, she took a part-time job at a store selling children’s clothes.  The store was located very close to the university.  All the other workers had young children.

In what looked the ideal job, she was forever being called into to cover Jane whose son Tom was not well or Julie whose daughter Sophie needed to taken to netball practice. There was never any question that this arrangement might not suit her because the needs of the workers with young children were paramount.

When she started professional employment, the same thing happened.  She was the one who had to wait back until the relevant email came in and she could reply, with the advice of others who had also been required to stay back.  The women workers with young children had to get away on time, you see.

The point is that there is no free lunch when it comes to very many work situations – what is flexible for some is burdensome for others.  And we should not kid ourselves that it can be otherwise.

And now comes the deficient survey of the prevalence of discrimination in relation to pregnancy, parental leave and return to work commissioned by the Human Rights Commission (yes, it is still going … groan).  The standout problem of the survey (of some 2000 mothers with young children) is that there was no control group.

Take for example the finding that 18 per cent of respondents claimed to have been sacked. But, hang on, workers are sacked all the time.  It may be the case that the rate of sacking of other workers was actually higher.

And then there is the problem that if you invite respondents to whinge, they will.  Not fully appreciated at work? Haven’t received the pay rise you  deserve?  Been denied professional development opportunities? Supervisor made sneering and unwelcome comments?  Come on down, Cats, you too can have a whinge.

Again, without a control group, the findings of the HRC survey – paid for us mugs, the taxpayers – are valueless.  About the only conclusion I can draw from the very superficial report – with expensive graphic design, of course – is that young mothers are very good at complaining.

(By the way, the findings about the fathers are complete tosh – an unrepresentative and tiny sample.)

Recall that of the 150,000 odd mothers who return to work each year after having a child, only some 150 (or 0.1 per cent) actually make a formal complaint about being discriminated (which actually is legally defined) at work.  That’s what I call real data.

Here is a snippet about the report:

Almost one in five working mums lost their job before or after having a baby and more than a quarter of fathers are discriminated against for taking parental leave, a report has found.

Half of Australia’s working mothers report discrimination during pregnancy, parental leave or when returning to work, according to an Australian Human Rights Commission report.

The commission’s report, Supporting Working Parents: Pregnancy and Return to Work National Review, found 18 per cent of pregnant workers say they have been sacked, threatened with sacking or didn’t have their contract renewed, either during their pregnancy, when requesting or taking parental leave, or when they returned to work.

Sex Discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick said women had their salaries cut and missed out on training, professional development and promotional opportunities.

“The most common types of discrimination . . . included negative comments about breastfeeding or working part-time or flexibly and being denied requests to work flexibly,” Ms Broderick said on Monday.

The vast majority of mothers who copped discrimination (84 per cent) said it had a negative impact on them. The report also found fathers were discriminated against, with more than one quarter (27 per cent) of the father and partner respondents saying this occurred during parental leave or when they returned to work.

Discrimination was most commonly reported upon the mother returning to work, followed by when requesting or on parental leave. However, a quarter of those discriminated against said it happened during their pregnancy.

 

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87 Responses to Hardly done by – call it discrimination!

  1. youngster

    I like the post Judith, but one little error: 150 is not 1% of 150,000. It’s 0.1%.

  2. Carpe Jugulum

    Sex Discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick

    I always take reports from a shrieking harpy feminazi with a grain of salt.

  3. stackja

    Sex Discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick seeking to justify her existence.

  4. Judith Sloan

    Thanks youngster: changed. From oldster.

  5. LordAzrael

    Yes this used to irk me greatly, particularly when after having been the one who copped all the extra work and unpaid overtime, the young women with children then complained if they weren’t paid as much or were overlooked for promotion. Its yet another area where the alleged gender discrepancies found in pay can be explained by othe factors.

  6. thefrollickingmole

    Funny how this comes on the heels of the report about HECS that showed women were the worst (overall) investment for education funding as they represented the biggest proportion of unpaid debt.

    Again the main reason being the time out of the workforce to raise kids and the endemic “part timing” of work after that.

    Put a bluntly as possible a female doctor is a worse investment than a male one IF she decides to marry and have kids.
    Its not sexism, its biology.

  7. James

    Flexi time for pregnant women and parents not only burden other workers, it’s also a huge inconvenience to employers, who cannot count on them to dedicate to their work. It is as if they treat it as a favor just to turn up at all. They stay in the job just for the wages to pay bills, and their heart is with the kids. When they do turn up, it’s for expressing milk in the toilet or arranging soccer match coaching etc.

    What Australia needs, is to align school time with work hours. If school time is also 9am to 5pm, instead of 3pm, parents can work better.

    In other countries, in home nannies can take care of picking up kids and household chores, so workers can concentrate on work.

  8. young mothers are very good at complaining

    Hell, yes. Anyone who’s done time with a kid in primary school and has had to run the Yummy Mummy blockade outside the school will know that.

    Or on the P&F group.

    Or at the gym.

    Or anywhere where breastfeeding may just conceivably be not entirely appropriate.

  9. Sir Fred Lenin

    Why does this useless “jobs for de girls” ,untidy nayshunist communist crap thing still evist? Abolish all of these undemocratic thingies ,involved with U.n crap,previous governments signed these traties without the Express Consent of the People,Importantchanges to our way of life Must be subjected to Referendum.
    The professional political lower class who supposedly run this country ,Cannot be Trusted.The same thing must be done with migration we dont need peasants to bludge on us ,or try to impose their way of life on us.

  10. Declaration of Possible Conflict of Interest: I am unmarried and childless, but unfortunately not shrivelled up and bitter. Nor do I have vinegar tits, just for those of you who were wondering.

    Having said that, I have had my fair share of being patronised by Yummy Mummies, mummy-bloggers, mummy acquaintances, and other mummy pains in the arse who seem to think they are the first woman in history to have a living child removed from their uterus.

  11. David

    A survey with no “control” group is not a survey but a “bitch session” – in this case that may be an appropriate term.

  12. Sex Discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick said women had their salaries cut and missed out on training, professional development and promotional opportunities.

    “The most common types of discrimination . . . included negative comments about breastfeeding or working part-time or flexibly and being denied requests to work flexibly,” Ms Broderick said on Monday.

    Simple. Just be in two places at once. Or better, pay someone in a developing country to have your babies for you.

    BILOCATION NOW!
    BILOCATION NOW!
    The Workers, Duplicated, Will Never Be Defeated!

  13. politichix

    My pet peeve is poorly designed surveys closely followed by whinging breeders with entitlement issues.

  14. Tintarella di Luna

    Well here’s Lisping Lizzie again seeking relevancy on the basis of 150 complaints. I am so sick and tired of all the whining.

  15. Petros

    One can imagine the questions: Have you ever had someone comment about you breastfeeding your baby? Many probably wrote yes and voila, discrimination.

  16. Mayan

    I’m a woman; no kids, on account of not medically being capable.

    Were I hiring and had to pick between two candidates, otherwise equivalent, but that one was a woman of child-bearing age, I’d pick the other candidate. It’s just common sense. If she were hired and hit the spawning grounds, then I would have to hold her job open, hire someone temporarily (a hassle for getting quality people), accommodate her and her spawn when she returns, and have to sack her replacement. For simple jobs, not a problem, but for serious jobs that require real skills, my choice would be easy.

  17. Baldrick

    From the Survey PDF:

    2.3 Interpreting the prevalence data
    The prevalence data arises from respondents’ perceptions of the ways in which they were treated as a result of their pregnancy, parental leave and return to work following parental leave (including based on their family responsibilities and breastfeeding/expressing). While only a court can determine whether there has been a breach of relevant legislation, the results:
    • indicate the prevalence of behaviour and action that could be ‘discrimination’ due to their pregnancy, requests for or taking of parental leave, and return to work following parental leave (including family responsibilities and breastfeeding/expressing), and
    • provide baseline data on the extent and nature of discrimination related to pregnancy, parental leave and return to work in Australia.

    So the take home message is – the report is based on the respondents’ feelings of how they were treated, which may or may not be classified as discrimination, as it was not determined by a court.

  18. Blair

    “The most common types of discrimination . . . included negative comments about breastfeeding ”
    A negative comment about breastfeeding is an example of discrimination?
    “Under federal and state legislation, unlawful discrimination occurs when someone, or a group of people, is treated less favourably than another person or group because of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin; sex, pregnancy or marital status; age; disability; religion; sexual preference; trade union activity; or some other characteristic specified under anti-discrimination or human rights legislation.”
    Australian Human Rights Commission.

  19. Beef

    I take it that the employers were not surveyed as to their reasons for letting the staff go.
    They’re all capitalist liars unlike the pure as driven snow surveyees.

  20. pete m

    As a working parent and a manager, I see both sides of the coin. Luckily I have some very cool working parents and a flexible employer, so most of the issues I deal with are the usual late to work. The single girls at work tend to run just as late, so I get to “yell” (i.e. be soft voiced and caring) to all of them equally.

    I used to work near a gym at a shopping centre and you had dramas trying to get past Zaraffas without smacking some lycra clad pram weilding mummy on the phone sipping coffee while checking out her reflection in the shop windows (while yourself not walking into the bin after staring too long at those gym shorts …talk about WHS issues!!)

    Anyway, my pet peeve is part-timers. The ones doing f/t end up having to cover their roles and it sux.

  21. politichix

    When is Tim going to get this joint working on real human rights issues?

  22. Des Deskperson

    But hold on. Doesn’t the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 already prohibit an employer from treating a employee “less favourably than, in circumstances that are the same or are not materially different, [the employer] treats or would treat someone who is not pregnant or potentially pregnant (section 7).

    So how many of the people who claim to have been discriminated against have lodged a complaint with the Sex Discrimination Commission? How many employers have been prosecuted? How many people who claim to have been sacked because of pregnancy have sought redress under the unfair dismissal provisions of the Fair Work Act – even one such case would surely have attracted national attention? Don’t most workplace enterprise agreements specifically prohibit these types of discrimination, so why hasn’t the Fair Work Commission been involved.

    So, to be succinct, why on earth haven’t the survey respondents who claimed to have suffered serious discrimination sought relief through the many channels available? Are they cases of simply hurt feelings with no real substance, or do they think the HRC is useless as a protector of rights??

    r

    .

    nsir vj people c.

    opesn’t

  23. Des Deskperson

    Sorry, forgot to delete the crap at the bottom of the last comment!!

  24. mizaris

    If the daughter was paid for the hours she worked, including the “call outs”, and the mummies were not paid for the time that they were absent, where is the problem?

  25. politichix

    Talking of the little cutie (meant in a non-patronising, gender non-specific kinda way), he’s sounding a little exasperated these days:

    Free speech, the public service and civilising behaviour
    Tim Wilson April 08, 2014
    Before anyone screams “free speech”, they should actually know what they are talking about.
    Earlier this week the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet released new social media protocols.
    The protocols limit the capacity of public servants to make statements that are “harsh or extreme in their criticism of the government, government policies, a member of Parliament from another political party … [and] a gratuitous personal attack that might reasonably be perceived to be connected with their employment”, among others.
    In response there have been cries that this code limits free speech. Yesterday Jenna Price wrote in Fairfax outlets that as “HenchCommissioner” I did not “leap in defence of our gentle, analytical and astute public servants”.
    Sigh. Since taking the office of Australian Human Rights Commissioner I have gleaned many new insights into the state of human rights in Australia. One of the most important insights is that many Australians seem to have no idea what human rights are, and many certainly do not understand what free speech is.
    Price also said I “backed the reforms”. This is factually inaccurate. It is not my place to endorse individual codes, but I have outlined that voluntary codes attached to employment conditions are not inconsistent with free speech.

  26. politichix

    Des Deskperson
    #1257639, posted on April 8, 2014 at 4:29 pm
    Are they cases of simply hurt feelings with no real substance, or do they think the HRC is useless as a protector of rights??

    Um, the first one . . .

  27. politichix

    How ironical!

    Liberty Quotes
    Why has it taken people like my friends at the Institute of Public Affairs, some of my colleagues in the coalition, columnists, editorial writers and writers of letters to the editors of the newspapers to get a debate up and going in Australia about limitations on freedom, when we have an agency, [the Australian Human Rights Commission], whose explicit statutory charter is to promote and advance those rights?
    — George Brandis

  28. So the take home message is – the report is based on the respondents’ feelings of how they were treated, which may or may not be classified as discrimination, as it was not determined by a court.

    Yes, that’s right. Which is what Roxon based her lovely new bill on as well. Which is why it had to be stopped. People’s feelings will always be hurt; we can’t legislate on this basis.

  29. johanna

    As someone who has had to manage female staff who become pregnant or have children (the blokes seem to duck out of their parental responsibilities most of the time), in fairness I must say that they fall into two broad categories.

    One category is acutely aware of the potential for them to appear to, or in fact to, create a burden for their fellow employees and management. These women work like demons even though they cannot always be there for as long as others, and generally do everything they can to compensate for any inconvenience. They go the extra mile whenever possible. They are great employees.

    The other lot are the shirkers and whiners, who regard the fact that they have reproduced as giving them special rights and privileges that must be accommodated, and otherwise cry “discrimination.” They are absolutely toxic in the workplace, and I did everything legally possible to get rid of them.

  30. Ellen of Tasmania

    Best possible scenario: Get married, get pregnant, stay home and raise wonderful people, then go back to work if you want/need to.

    “How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe?
    How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No. A woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.”

    (G K Chesterton)

  31. politichix

    Johanna, nice, agree 100%.

  32. Stateless, free and happy

    Judith wrote: “Recall that of the 150,000 odd mothers who return to work each year after having a child, only some 150 (or 0.1 per cent) actually make a formal complaint about being discriminated (which actually is legally defined) at work. That’s what I call real data.”

    Surely this is the lower bound estimate. Not all discriminated employees make formal complaints.

  33. Token

    I know this survey. I was paid to take it by Morgan to help refine the questions.

    I kept raising the point with the people running the survey (which took more than 3/4 hour) that the questions were all negatively slanted, with no questions raising questions about whether the employer had flexible options in place.

    It seems they did not take my feedback. I’m not stunned about that.

  34. Token

    Almost one in five working mums lost their job before or after having a baby and more than a quarter of fathers are discriminated against for taking parental leave, a report has found.

    With the way the questions were posed, I am not surprised they found this was the result. I did ask them to define “descriminate” but strangely it was not provided.

  35. Natural Instinct

    Is this a Privacy breach that the HRC should look into?

    The samples for each survey were drawn from Department of Social Services databases of recipients of parental payments

    .
    Questions/Feelings

    Your hours were changed against your wishes
    Your roster schedule was changed against your wishes
    Your duties or role were changed against your wishes
    You were made casual
    You had a reduction in your salary or bonus
    You didn’t receive a pay rise or bonus, or received a lesser pay rise or bonus than your peers at work
    You missed out on a salary increment or bonus
    Your position was replaced permanently by another employee

    I (non female, non parental leave) can answer YES to all of the above, at various time throughout career.
    It is called life, not discrimination.
    .
    .

    Your employer did not adequately backfill your position during your parental leave and this negatively impacted you (parental leave)

    Not sure how employer back-filled me. It was his/her problem, I was off with the pixies…
    .
    Normal push-polling bull-dust survey just providing “content” for “lazy” media outlets. Expect this sort of stuff from GetUp!, Greenpeace and other agitators – not the HRC.

  36. danno

    Should the HRC be drumming up work for themselves like this?

    A bit like the police encouraging people to steal to “improve” the crime statistics, that is that they are needed?

    What next?

    Climate Scientists claiming there is too much uncertainty in climate, so they need more funds to better understand it

    and on it goes

  37. Di

    I heard an interview yesterday. The carry on about discrimination of women in the workforce due to kids / pregnancy left me gasping.

    What about the discrimination for the childless woman? Haven’t been able to have a real Christmas for years (the mums with the school age kiddies get the first dibs), anytime there is a flex work arrangement – my preference is always the last one (yeah, yeah – poor bugger me).

    But the thing that gives me the absolute shits is when the poor little sickie has gone home to put her feet up, or mum has been called into school because some illbred numpty has upset another illbred numpty on fucking facebook (and of course you need a 3 hour conference with teachers / parents / students to sort it) is that guess who has to do their job & my fucking job.

    No extra pay, no extra time etc.

    At the end of the interview I was left thinking oh, so discrimination only affects mums & pregnant women – other working women can go to buggery.

  38. Turtle of WA

    And then there is the problem that if you invite respondents to whinge, they will.

    A perfect summary of Robert Mann’s historical method.

  39. Welcome, Di, to the Single Childless Female Pissed Off With Mummy Whingers Room. Please make yourself comfortable. We’re all friends here, and we all like to make this a safe place to express our feelings.

  40. brennan

    Phillipa Martyr # 1257593

    I am unmarried and childless, but unfortunately not shrivelled up and bitter.

    Actually smart, funny and witty. Cute too.

    I’m nearly 50, unmarried and childless, but it’s by choice. I generally don’t like the creatures and want as little as possible to do with them. No paternal instinct at all.

    However, because I was single I would often get lumped with having to fill in for parents who needed to do something for their spawn. I simply put in for the O/T and it usually stopped or would simply tell them I had tickets for something or another (even if I didn’t) and if they replaced them for me, before I did the ‘favour’, I’d do it. Never taken up on it once.

    What usually got me was the sense of entitlement that, because they chose to breed, I had to in effect take care of their children, assist with their parental responsibilities. “But I have children, they exclaim”. So? I didn’t force you to have them – they’re your responsibility, not mine.

    I want to make clear that this has only been a limited number of people in my experience and most will do everything they can to do what they need to do themselves. Politely requested help that’s fair and the other person does something for me too (or at least offered) will usually get assistance where I can do it.

    If I was employing, I wouldn’t be hiring women of prime breeding age.

    Rambling a bit because of painkillers and antibiotics for an injury.

  41. Walter Plinge

    I kept raising the point with the people running the survey (which took more than 3/4 hour) that the questions were all negatively slanted, with no questions raising questions about whether the employer had flexible options in place.

    It seems they did not take my feedback. I’m not stunned about that.

    I do a lot of on-line surveys with the major polling firms. I’m not surprised by the above. Many surveys are obviously slanted to give the commissioning company the answer they want, particularly if they have been commissioned by the government or an NGO.

  42. brennan, I too have had hugely positive experiences as well – and oddly enough these ladies have almost always been either homeschoolers and/or providentialists (eg. no ‘family planning’ of any kind – just let the kids come as they will). Average family size, five children.

    If anyone has a reason to complain about being run off their feet and having to multitask, it’s them, but surprisingly they indulge in very little of that.

  43. jrm

    Yeah. Well I was sacked for being pregnant once. But that was back in 1971 amd there were no laws against it . I was about 5 months gone when the boss noticed and, I presume, thought it was a bad look for his little real estate agency to have a receptionist with a ballooning belly. Too bad. I could’ve done with an extra couple of months’ work.

  44. Token

    I’m not surprised by the above. Many surveys are obviously slanted to give the commissioning company the answer they want, particularly if they have been commissioned by the government or an NGO.

    They certainly took the Sir Humphrey approach when they created the question.

    I noted that questions on “flexibility” assumed the person needed to take the leave straight after the baby is born. I noted that as a father that this made more sense, and that it is better to time the leave after a couple of weeks when the mother is getting fatigue.

    I went to the website to look questions and note that feedback was ignored as well.

  45. Joe Goodacre

    Thanks Judith.

    Let’s hope the government slowly starves this beast.

  46. Joe Goodacre

    Philippa, off topic – are any UWA staff talking about the roasting that Lewandowsky is getting at the hands of Anthony Watts and Steve McIntyre? Any likelihood that the uni will abide by its own policies and release the data?

  47. Di

    Welcome, Di, to the Single Childless Female Pissed Off With Mummy Whingers Room. Please make yourself comfortable. We’re all friends here, and we all like to make this a safe place to express our feelings.

    The thing that really annoys me the most, is the “…..you would understand if you had children…” (Mind you I had a niece live with me from about 9 months until she was 7)

    The minute that you say anything you are the worst person in the world.

    The other thing that pisses me off is when male manager’s say shit like – “…I’ll leave it to you “girls” to sort out…”

    You soon become very discerning about the requirements of people to fill positions of support. After the last one had a hissy fit & left for four months, it all became just too hard.

  48. Joe Goodacre

    jrm,

    Yeah. Well I was sacked for being pregnant once. But that was back in 1971 amd there were no laws against it . I was about 5 months gone when the boss noticed and, I presume, thought it was a bad look for his little real estate agency to have a receptionist with a ballooning belly. Too bad. I could’ve done with an extra couple of months’ work.

    It still happens. We have considered the likelihood of someone becoming pregnant when we hire – probably will do so again in the future. Training people and finding temporary replacements are expensive propositions, as well as the distraction from other issues the business could be focusing on. It’s a reality that pregnancy impacts costs and people look to avoid those costs – whether people talk about it or not.

  49. Bons

    Anyway, my pet peeve is part-timers. The ones doing f/t end up having to cover their roles and it sux.
    A big yep.
    I was married young but had kids late. After spending two Christmases in Third World bog-holes, I returned to Oz in time for the Company to announce that I would have to work on Christmas Day because I was the only one without kids. No I wasn’t, because 28 days later, they had nobody without kids
    My favourite hate are the Tiger Mums. Dragging their kids to the Company child care center on public transport and using the journey to have ‘quality time’ at the top of their screechy voices with the tiny pre-latte socialists. “We know how to spell wanker don’t we Darian? What are we Darian? Yes, that’s right we are vegans, that’s right, clever boy”. They ignore the fellow travelers sitting quietly attempting to come to terms with the forthcoming trials of the working day – “I’m a Mum, it is my right to impose myself upon you”.
    My favourite Tiger Mum memory was on the TGV from Paris to London. We all sat quietly reading or working while, in the background, Tiger imposed herself at the top of her Surrey accented voice. An Eastern European passenger who had obviously not been informed of the rights of travelling mums finally blew up and gave her a Golden Logie serve. The response uttered quite loudly was ” ignore him Darling, he is a foreigner”. I thought that I had died and woken up in Duke Street.
    All of which taught me an important lesson; your kids are your responsibility not society’s.

  50. Joe Goodacre

    johanna,

    As someone who has had to manage female staff who become pregnant or have children (the blokes seem to duck out of their parental responsibilities most of the time), in fairness I must say that they fall into two broad categories.

    My experience as well.

    For admin roles my preference is for the former due to their no nonsense, 9-5 approach. Sometimes you need the toiler who is reliable, used to solving problems and has no aspirations to move up the ladder.

  51. Token

    It still happens. We have considered the likelihood of someone becoming pregnant when we hire – probably will do so again in the future.

    The goal of this survey is prevent discrimination.

    Most likely the effect will be small & micro employers avoiding hiring women of child baring age in fear of facing such a claim. What sized business is responsible for the majority of employment?

  52. Joe Goodacre

    Token,

    Agreed – it probably doesn’t happen at the large businesses like CBA but small and medium sized businesses have limited time and expense to find the right candidate and have to stereotype and take gambles. That’s one of my concerns with the paid parental leave scheme – to the extent it makes women more likely to take maternity leave, it will also make it more likely that women in long term relationships in their child bearing years won’t get employment in smaller businesses.

  53. Tel

    You are all going to hate me but employers are 100% to blame for this. Simply pay people for what they do, not for how many hours they hang around, or worse for a fixed wage that completely ignores overtime and effort expended.

    If you as a business owner employ people and you cannot measure their productive output then you suck at management so hire someone who knows how to manage. If the managers you hired cannot figure out what the employees are doing then you hired the wrong people – get rid on them.

    If you have a job as a manager and find it too difficult to measure the productive output of the people under you, then either get some training, or give up because you are useless.

    Pretty simple stufff, isn’t it?

  54. blind freddy

    . Nor do I have vinegar tits, just for those of you who were wondering.
    Philippa Martyr

    Now I am wondering
    http://missverabennett.tumblr.com/

  55. JohnA

    Philippa Martyr #1257756, posted on April 8, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    brennan, I too have had hugely positive experiences as well – and oddly enough these ladies have almost always been either homeschoolers and/or providentialists (eg. no ‘family planning’ of any kind – just let the kids come as they will). Average family size, five children.

    If anyone has a reason to complain about being run off their feet and having to multitask, it’s them, but surprisingly they indulge in very little of that.

    Yep, because home education and providentialism (nicely coined, Pip!) tend to be sourced from a common pre-cedent motivation: an understanding that raising children is a worthwhile and usually full-time career, directly connected to their love for their children. NB: I am NOT saying other parents don’t love their children, so please don’t anyone go there.

  56. Tiny Dancer

    TITS, did a phillies mention tits? They are one of my favourite things. Big and small but great big ones are top of the list.

  57. Tiny Dancer

    “a phillies” should read “Phillipa”

  58. KaaBee

    I visited a busy local food retailer in suburban Melbourne today and realised that since my last visit several weeks ago the staff of eight or so has changed from a majority of female workers to 100% young males. They were too busy for me to ask why and I would probably been told it was none of my business. As an ex employer of female workers I would really like to know why.

  59. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    They are one of my favorite things

    Tiny Dancer, will you kindly shut up on the matter? I’m in enough trouble for following your links already….

  60. politichix

    Tiny you are a deadset fuckwit!

  61. Tiny Dancer

    Politichix, I swear a man is using your account.

  62. politichix

    What you talkin bout Willis? ;-)

  63. Dave Wane

    The point is that there is no free lunch when it comes to very many work situations – what is flexible for some is burdensome for others. And we should not kid ourselves that it can be otherwise.

    For me that is the bottom line. And not just for work, but for life itself.

    All this never-ending fiddling and meddling with EVERYTHING in a pathetic attempt to create a “perfect” workplace, or a “perfect” nation only ends up creating a weak, regulation-dependant, society that cannot deal with life’s trials, tribulations, anomalies, hardships and of course UNFAIRNESS! Life and work was never, and has never been FAIR or EASY.

    People and governments should simply accept that fact. Furthermore, mealy-mouthed government, semi-government and taxpayer-funded experts who do all this unnecessary and very expensive “work”, should get a real job in the real world and help improve the competiveness and thereby the prosperity of our financially-strapped (thanks to Rudd-Gillard-Rudd) increasingly impoverished, over-regulated, over-taxed country.

  64. nerblnob

    Working mothers are some of the best grafters I’ve employed. Those that know how to work really know how to work – and organise their work. Organise me as well! They are more of the “formerly known as working class” type though. Not so much of the ballet and horse riding lessons for their kids.

  65. Mundi

    Tel, that’s a good idea in theory.

    In practice, women legally get a year off after birth. While they are gone you have to keep their position open, so all the money you spend on training a replacement is sunk, as you will have to get rid of them when the mother returns. Then you will also have to back train her, so their will be certain overlap where you have 2 people employed for what was meant to be one job.

    It is a joke to claim that there is no cost to a business. Small business in particular can be crippled by extended parental leave.

    Now suppose everyone else puts in extra to cover her, well now her job in legitimately redundant…. when she comes back, there is no longer any work, so you let her go, and everyone claims its because of discrimination.

    Making parental leave mandatory has just ensured discrimination will always occur. They have basically made it the law that you will lose $x if you employ a women of child baring age, and they are surprised it leads to discrimination?

    I know a successful software company run by a women and she told me straight up that she does not hire women under 30. At one point she had nearly 30% of her staff on maternity leave at any point in time, which almost destroyed her business, which was a mistake she made because she targeted young female labour without accounting fort he impact of maternity leave.

    If you take into account the cost, and offer lower wage, well you are just asking to be prosecuted into oblivion because eventually you will have men and women doing the same job for different pay.

  66. MACK1

    More than half of graduates in the top professions are female. If bright young women think there is a problem they should just get together, set up their own businesses and professional firms and eliminate the issue themselves.

  67. JC

    Pretty simple stufff, isn’t it?

    Umm no, it’s not simple. The higher up the food chain you go the more difficult it is to measure the things you’re suggesting. And in any event this happening already at the higher levels. CEO’s get measured primarily on return on equity or various other targets that are established and agreed to.

  68. Jimp51

    Ahh, the Australian Working Families of yesteryear. Back toclaim mtheir prize offered by ….

  69. Anne

    Brennan

    If I was employing, I wouldn’t be hiring women of prime breeding age.

    My father used to say, “never hire a fertile woman or a smoker”.

    For the record, I too, though not for want of trying, am barren, impregnable, inconceivable and unbearable.

  70. Hoaxx

    As a single father words cannot describe
    (wait: misandry) how offended and discriminated against I feel upon reading this article.
    I will be starting a challenge in the High Court to be recognized as a single mother and included in important studies such as these.

    Note for single dads: Recommend shaving nipple before breastfeeding.

  71. Tel

    The higher up the food chain you go the more difficult it is to measure the things you’re suggesting.

    Fair point, so it should be easy to measure for most employees, right?

    And in any event this happening already at the higher levels.

    So the higher up you go the more difficult it is to measure, and yet at the very top we are already doing a good job at measuring it. So it must be really, really, really easy to measure for most employees.

    But, why do so few businesses bother doing it then?

  72. Peewhit

    Business employs people to make a profit on their time. This is the only reason to employ them. If the government legislates so that business will make a loss on their time, they will not be employed. How much more simple can it be?

  73. Peewhit

    It does not matter at what level they are employed, the fact is still that apart from a job like gardener, which is a subsidized job to make the place look nice, the business needs to profit from each and every one of it’s employees.

  74. Squirrel

    “Philippa Martyr

    #1257593, posted on April 8, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Declaration of Possible Conflict of Interest: I am unmarried and childless, but unfortunately not shrivelled up and bitter. Nor do I have vinegar tits, just for those of you who were wondering.

    Having said that, I have had my fair share of being patronised by Yummy Mummies, mummy-bloggers, mummy acquaintances, and other mummy pains in the arse who seem to think they are the first woman in history to have a living child removed from their uterus.”

    Sadly, our esteemed Prime Minister’s “signature policy” will only reinforce the preciousness, at a cost of several billions per year.

  75. Notafan

    As an almost former working mother most of the absenteeism was caused by infections picked up at child care we got everything measles, chicken pox, slap face, scabies foot and mouth? pleurisy, scarlet fever, croup even whooping cough (long story) to name a few.
    Time over I would have stayed at home, but that’s another long story I don’t think I was ever one to expect others to pick up slack, of of those take them as they come mothers.

  76. Pete D

    My partner and I don’t have children. We both worked for the same govt. department in the same establishment. The work involved 2 or 3 rotational shifts 24/7 and 365 days a year. During the Christmas/new year period and other public holiday times, the roster people would always try to ‘arrange’ the rota so that the family men and women had the longest breaks between shifts especially having Christmas day off. Admittedly they asked first. We ‘helped’ out for the first 3 or 4 of years but one Christmas we said “no”, sighting the fact that neither of us had seen our respective families/siblings for many Christmases and it was surely our turn for a break. I have 4 children from a previous marriage and had not been with them for many Christmases. We were called ‘inconsiderate’, ‘selfish’ and a few other less than complimentary names. The single younger members of staff sometimes helped out also but the old “I want to visit Mum” seemed to tug on the roster clerk’s heart strings. From that time on we both refused requests even from other staff to swap shifts even on ‘normal’ days. I never did overtime again and my partner only did overtime a few times over the next 5 years or so. We deliberately became and remained inconsiderate and selfish because of the (perhaps) discriminatory attitude shown to us.

  77. A Lurker

    In practice, women legally get a year off after birth. While they are gone you have to keep their position open, so all the money you spend on training a replacement is sunk, as you will have to get rid of them when the mother returns. Then you will also have to back train her, so their will be certain overlap where you have 2 people employed for what was meant to be one job.

    If I were the manager, I’d offer both those employees a job-sharing arrangement for that position. Neither of them would get the full-time wage, but they’d at least be employed, have more time for family, or have time to work another job if so inclined. Also the manager wouldn’t lose out on the training time/costs, and the replacement could work with the returning employee for a week or two to get them back up to speed.

  78. Petros

    Tel have you ever run a business? Your comments suggest you haven’t.

  79. Token

    Petros, it does sound like the type of “planning” which created the pink batts disaster, doesn’t it?

  80. KaaBee

    After having complied with the requirements and absorbed the costs of maternity leave, the final slap in the face to the small business owner comes when the employee resigns, after being back at work for two to three months because she really would rather be at home with her baby.
    The business owner then contacts the the person employed and trained for the maternity leave period only to find they have found another position. So the costly and highly disruptive cycle continues unless plans are made to avoid it if possible.

  81. Paul

    “You wouldn’t understand because you don’t have kids”, “its supposed to be a family friendly workplace”, You don’t mind working Christmas do you”, I’m so sorry for you that you don’t have children”, “Would you and H**** adopt if they made it legal?”, “I did call in, I’m taking a family leave day because little T*** has something on at school”, “I think she might be a lesbian”…….and so it goes.

  82. PoliticoNT

    Fantastic! I’ll have to show this to my other half who was bitterly complaining the other day that due the cyclical contraction of the APS; women are now being denied decent job opportunities.

    She (for she is a she) is an extremely competent and capable servant of the people, but like a lot of the 45-50 yo generation, deeply resentful of and antagonistic to men. From memory the word is misandry. (Note to former PM Gillard – I’ve never witnessed or been party to misogynist behaviour, but misandry is something I can speak of from personal experience.)

    I enjoyed working for the APS, but two things about my female colleagues stood out. One, their children came first. This wasn’t just an entrenched attitude, or way of behaving, it was accepted as the norm. Two, when it comes to nepotism, the girls are leaving the boys way behind.

    Gender was never an indicator of competence. Different pressures on women though. Whether it impacts on the performance of the APS over the long term is another thing.

  83. “You wouldn’t understand because you don’t have kids”, “its supposed to be a family friendly workplace”, You don’t mind working Christmas do you”, I’m so sorry for you that you don’t have children”, “Would you and H**** adopt if they made it legal?”, “I did call in, I’m taking a family leave day because little T*** has something on at school”, “I think she might be a lesbian”…….and so it goes.

    Amen, brother (or sistah, as the case may be).

    Although I must say, my current workplace is very good about letting me nick off if the ManChild (nephew in residence) needs things from time to time. I try not to do it, though.

  84. johanna

    Philippa, some of my very best staff were women with kids, and of course they were allowed to nick off in a genuine emergency. But they also did things like work through their lunch hour, or take work home, if they hadn’t been able to put in the time that their colleagues did.

    The other issue is, as a single woman myself, I know that single people have families too. They have just as much right to spend holidays (like Christmas) with their families, and nick off to attend to old parents or other family members who need them as anyone else. And they have the same responsibility to make up for lost time as anyone else, too.

  85. Morgan Ryan

    Judith – have you checked out the work of Harvard’s Claudia Goldin on the gender pay gap? In this AER article she shows that the pay gap is a result of a combination of factors, most importantly a non-linear hours-wage relationship for certain occupations – eg M&A bankers, litigators, surgeons. Interestingly, that relationship is absent in other occupations (e.g. pharmacy) where the pay gap is much narrower.

  86. Pat Warnock

    Having children is a personal choice so stay home and look after them ‘at least to school age’! It’s a crime to dump babies in some child care centre.

  87. .

    Fuck her and all those whining bitches and reclaim the workplace as an equal opportunity area, equal for everyone.

    I used the same phraseology and I was browbeaten by people who should know better on this site. If they complain from now on, I will inform them of their double standards.

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