Consider the following:

While it can be true that while women are pregnant, nursing and then being mothers, as well as employees, their focus can be split and there can be days, where they simply cannot be at work for various reasons that is in no way an indication that they are not dedicated to their employer or their career.

Women are waiting longer to start families. According to CDC – In 2000, the average American woman having her first child was almost 25 years old. In 1970, the average was 21.4 years for a first birth. In many cases a woman is firmly established in her career at the time she has her first child.

Prior to the passage of the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, women often quit their jobs, at the time the learned they were pregnant. Now women are working longer into their pregnancies. Discriminations suits are also on the rise.

Many employers feel that pregnant women are less productive than other employees. They also fear the costs of maternity leave and medical insurance as well as other administrative burdens associated with a women taking time off from work. It is true that, maternity leave is an administrative and economic burden for employers, but it is a cost that needs to be borne. Women are giving birth to the workers and consumers of the next generation. It is not like women are taking time off from work just to cause employers’ undue stress and heartache. There is a larger societal phenomenon at play here.

Granted, the complexity of the federal and state laws, does leave room for honest misunderstandings and for every valid claim of discrimination, there could be a corresponding one that is false. However, while it is agreed that the cost of maternity leave, on a financial and organizational level may be high, the cost of a EEOC lawsuit is also high and from a global perspective, the cost of not having family friendly policies in place may be the highest yet. This years babies will be the future consumers and workers of tomorrow. What would be the cost to business, if the birthrate continues to decline? Not to mention, that as women make up almost half of the workforce and are contributing to organizations at higher and higher levels, the policies are going to have to shift, otherwise businesses are risking losing some of their best trained assets.

Think of it as an investment in the future.

Articles reviewed in this post include:

  • Court Protects Working Moms from Perception Bias by Jonathan Vuocolo, The Wall Street Journal Online
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