Four in ten women who are pregnant or who have just had a baby are still disadvantaged in the labor market. This is reported by the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights on Monday based on a study into pregnancy discrimination in the Netherlands. Nothing has changed compared to previous studies, says the human rights institute. Pregnancy discrimination has thus “remained an undiminished problem”.
The human rights institute asked 1,150 working women who had a child in the past four years how they experienced discrimination based on pregnancy at work or at certain stages of the job search. According to the Commission, this shows that women run “a great risk” of pregnancy discrimination at all stages of the employment process.
For example, one in five women was rejected when applying for a job, one in ten even explicitly stated that it was because of the pregnancy. More than a third of the women who wanted to sign a new contract saw the contract “changed at the last minute” or disappeared because of pregnancy. Almost half of all women with a temporary contract did not receive an extension or a permanent contract because of their pregnancy or recent delivery.
A quarter of the women miss out on promotions, salary increases, bonuses and training, or have problems with agreements on maternity leave and return to work. Some women also say that they have fallen behind in their careers. Only 11 percent of those questioned raise the alarm about the problems.
FNV calls for a stricter approach to pregnancy discrimination
The time when the government mainly focuses on information is now years past, the FNV says in a response. The union is calling for a tougher approach to this type of discrimination, “to eradicate this problem from its roots”.
“Equality in the labor market is by no means a race”, says FNV board member Judy Hoffer. “You see this not only in the wage difference between men and women, but also in matters such as pregnancy. Employers can now get away with it too easily as long as they are not confronted with the consequences of their actions.”
The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights itself also wants the government to comply with equal treatment legislation as soon as possible in order to combat pregnancy discrimination. There must also be more information for employers and employees. More than three quarters of the women do not or hardly study the consequences of being pregnant and working.