Human Resources



Mums returning to work must be “more reasonable”

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One third of HR managers in Australia think mothers returning to work need to be more reasonable when negotiating with employers.

This statistic comes from a submission by the Australian Human Resources Institute to the Human Rights Commission’s Supporting Working Parent: Pregnancy and Return to Work National Review.

Based on their survey of 740 respondents, 59% said present laws which exist to protect pregnant employees and those returning to work from discrimination are “adequate” – but 44% believe they are not being “adequately implemented” by managers.

The range of perspectives compiled found that while 34% of HR managers want the legislation strengthened to better protect employees, almost the same number (35%) believe laws should require parents returning from leave to be more reasonable in negotiations with their bosses.

Australian Human Resources Institute chairman Peter Wilson told said the findings identify half the problem.

“A third are saying that mothers are not prepared to be flexible, well, I think we need to acknowledge that you are not always finding a model employers out there,” he said. “I’m critical of some in my own profession about that.”

However, other submissions to the National Review seem to paint a different picture of discrimination.

One submission detailed a woman who was made redundant following her announcement she would be returning part-time only, while many others said they had witnessed pregnant employees being passed over for promotions many times.

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