Job Advice (long post, sorry!)

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Job Advice (long post, sorry!)

OK, I need some thoughts/opinions. Those of you who have been through the Canadian maternity leave system will understand why this is an issue...for those of you who haven't, all you need to know is that there is a big difference between being a contract employee and a permanent employee.

I work for a very large company, and right now my position is a contract, which is up in July. When I was hired, my manager said that he intended to hire me on permanently when my contract was up if he could, but the company is very specific about "head count" and "revenues" (ie he can only hire me permanently if the revenues hit a certain target).

Unfortunately, revenues haven't quite hit target, but they are on track to do so by the fall. So he's offered to extend my contract until October, with a guarantee of permanent hire then (although I DON'T have that guarantee in writing yet - the paperwork is in the works).

HERE'S THE THING: if I am a "permanent" employee when I go on mat leave, I get some very important benefits that I wouldn't be entitled to if I am a "contract" employee:

1) legally guaranteed to have my job waiting for me when I come back to work in a year, and
2) salary top up, which makes taking a year off of work financially possible.

Now that I am pregnant, I'm worried that once I tell them that I will be going on mat leave in January, there is nothing to stop them from simply extending my contract to January and then ending it, leaving me without a job? Or, less bad but still sucky, they extend my contract to cover the course of my mat leave (ie so that I still work for the company but don't get the benefits)?

It would be nice if I could hide the pregnancy until AFTER getting that permanent job offer in writing, but I seriously doubt I can keep this belly under wraps until October. I'm going to have to announce it while I'm still on contract status....I just don't know how things are going to play out once I do.

The company that I work for is great, and my manager is great too - very pro family, so I honestly don't see them screwing me over on purpose. But at the same time, they are also about bottom lines...so they might screw me over anyway. I don't know....any thoughts??

lesleynka's picture
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WOW, you get a year maternity leave. Sounds like a good gig.

i think you have to tell your boss before you sign anything.

The reason i take this stand is more from a relationship standpoint than an employee/company standpoint. It seems your boss is good to you & trying to do anything he can to get you in. It doesn't seem that he would intentionally screw you over, but yes, the company may force him to. BUT, if you don't tell him you are then putting him in a bad situation where he could get punished by the company for signing you on & pushing you through for a permanent position.

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That's a tough one. I think I agree with Lesley that in the long run, it's better if you tell your boss, since it sounds like he has been good to you and will continue to be good to you if he can. You don't want to mess with that relationship. Maybe you can ask for him to put it in writing in your contract extension in July that you will be hired on permanently in October, that way they contractually have to do it?

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I am in Canada too and understand your predicament. I would try to wait till you have the paperwork in hand that says you will get an extension and permanent status in october, and then before signing it tell your boss that you are expecting and are due in January. I would say that you want to be honest with him, but that you are very committed to your company, love your job and intend to come back after the mat leave (if that all applies). See his reaction. You know legally they are not allowed to not make you a permanent employee because of this. If it looks like they will try to screw you, make it know that you are aware of your rights. I think if they like you enough to offer to hire you on full time and you are honest about the whole thing, they will be fine with it. It happens. And you have already put lots of time in with them.

Now, if you don't get hired on permanent you should still be able to get just the regular EI mat leave (about 50%) of your pay if you have worked enough hours. That is better than nothing.

I found out I was pregnant 3 days before being offered a job with an organization I really wanted to work for. I told my new boss that I just found out, that I would still love to take the job, but that I would decline it if they were not comfortable with it. They were great about it, actually encouraged me to take the job, and have been super supportive of the situation.

I know it's scary, but I think honesty (once you have the extension offer!) is a good idea. They appreciate that. Good luck!

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Agreed, when you're comfortable, tell him in private. Make sure he knows how much you love the company, and working there. And that you want to continue as long as you can and especially after the baby. That may help him to see that you are honest and 'on his side'.

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I'm for getting the contract and then telling him. It's not illegal, and frankly, you being pregnant should not have an effect on his decision to hire you, period, so he doesn't actually need to know. If he is upset that you waited, then he probably would not have given you the permanent position had he known, which is illegal.

I know that it's a tough position to be in, especially if it might put a strain on your relationship, but you also need to put yourself first. You deserve the permanent position and if being pregnant is the only thing standing in the way, then that's wholly unfair (and against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms). I worked as a teacher for a while, where permanent contracts are extremely hard to come by, and this was a common tactic: women waited until the end of the school year, after the contract was signed, to reveal their pregnancy. Then they immediately put in for mat leave!

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I think it's illegal in most industrial nations, it just isn't always followed unfortunately.

We have paternity leave here in the states, but i don't think most men take it. I think it is mostly frowned upon. My bf is in construction. If he took it he would most definitely get fired.

clio's picture
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"lesleynka" wrote:

I think it's illegal in most industrial nations, it just isn't always followed unfortunately.

Yes, and this is exactly my point. It is unfortunately not always followed, and the way to make sure you're not screwed over is to keep it to yourself, if you fear that there might be a problem. You are under no legal obligation in Canada to reveal this information, and as I said, while it often does have an impact on how people look at your suitability for a job, it should absolutely not. The fact that it might is reason to keep quiet.

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Having been screwed over in my last pregnancy and now it looks like again this pregnancy, I would STRONGLY advise waiting until you get the job offer extension to October in hand with promise (written I hope) of a permanent position. How long will you have to wait for the written promise? Hopefully not too long. I do not see it as dishonest. Sadly discrimination still exists as I have seen two times now Sad

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I used to work in HR and so I have some answers for you...

It is job discrimination for them to rescind a permanent position offer because you are pregnant. If you have a permanent job offer then they have to honour it. Due to timing issues of when you expect to have the offer and when you will go on mat leave the company could decide not to offer the position. I have a friend in this situation right now, contract and was going to be offered permanent but because she is pregnant (baby being induced next week) the offer did not happen. They did offer her a permanent position after she returns to work.

EI is 55% of your gross income up to a max of $4XX/week (I forget the exact number). Yes, having the top up would be nice but the fact that we as Canadians get 1 year paid (and up to a second year unpaid) is something that most people would love to have. You need 600 hours of employment to be eligible.

It sounds like you have a good relationship with your manager. I would talk to them after 12 weeks and let them know what is going on. You may not get the permanent position and top up but they may agree to hold your job.

When I was pregnant with Robbie I started a new job at 12 weeks, at 24 weeks (before I had finished probation) I had to go on sick leave due to gall stones. The company I worked for (so did DH) could have fired me but they honoured my employment, benefits etc through me returning to work at the end of mat leave.

While businesses can not discriminate on the basis of pregnancy they can fire you for breach of contract if you do no disclose important information which would include pregnancy. Most companies do not do this but it does happen.

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I think if I were your employer...I'd resent you for hiding something this big. It is understandable to wait until the end of the first trimester, but any longer could put a strain on your working relationship.

ITA with Margaret that you could lose your job based on breach of contract. I know I have a contract that says I must disclose all important information that will impact my ability to work. They stuck with me through maternity leave last time and fully expect they will this time.

I know that's not quite the same as your issue cause our maternity leave in the states just plain stinks no matter what kind of job you have. I'd kill to be Canadian right now!

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thanks for all the great advice ladies!! margaret, thanks especially for the HR point of view. you've all given me a lot to consider!

bottom line is that DH and i knew when we started TTC that my job status could put us at a disadvantage, but we figured that the worst case scenario would be that i end up jobless come january...highly unlikely, but if it did happen, we could make it work. we could live off of DH's salary (and kraft dinner) for a year, and i could use that time to look for a new job. not ideal, but certainly manageable.

and yes....we are very lucky in Canada to even HAVE a one-year (partially) paid mat leave, so i am grateful to even have that opportunity. we get taxed up the wazoo here, but every now and then we get to cash in on it.

thanks again everyone!!!!

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Nicole - one thing I learned from my older sisters (I have 6 of them) is that knowing when money is going to be lower start stocking up on stuff now.... Buy non-perishables in bulk, freeze/can produce/meat. My oldest sister always made it a goal to not grocery shop (except perishables) in December due to money needed for Christmas/holiday stuff. Being the youngest of 10 (ya, my parents were crazy) I learned to shop sales/buy in bulk at a young age. When DH and I got together he complained that all I had was "real food" that you had to cook and stuff ROFL

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Angela,

What happened? I thought you were supposed to be changing groups or something? Did that fall through b/c of your pregnancy?

I am so sorry. That is so horrible!!

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I became very curious about this after hearing an HR perspective, and did some research. This is what I found:

Canadian Labour Law

Hopefully this helps. It seems we have more rights than we thought. Good luck!

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"clio" wrote:

It seems we have more rights than we thought. Good luck!

Lots more rights. A couple maternity/labour law stuff that I personally was involved in which almost caused people (the managers) to be fired..

I gave some of my parental leave time to DH. When he returned to work he applied for an internal promotion. One of the interviewing guys (in an email) suggested that DH was not appropriate as he had just come off of a leave of absence. Stupid to put something like that in writing AND to send it to the job candidate. The interviewer just about lost his job for job discrimination due to parental leave when DH brought it to the attention of HR.

The second one is a little harder to talk about (due to my recent m/c). Same company and one of my very good friends. My friend had her daughter at 25w and the baby passed away at 27 weeks. When a baby is born after 20w (and even cases of adoption) the mother is still entitled to 17w maternity leave. The day after my friend's daughter was buried her manager was demanding K to come back to work :eek: Again, the manager almost lost her job...

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"lesleynka" wrote:

Angela,

What happened? I thought you were supposed to be changing groups or something? Did that fall through b/c of your pregnancy?

I am so sorry. That is so horrible!!

Ughhhhh this pisses me off so much.

With Nicholas I was told (not in writing) that I was not getting my promotion that I was due for because "no one is going to promote a pregnant woman about to go on maternity leave". My review was at the beginning of June and I was due at the end of June. I did get my promotion when I returned from maternity leave, but that was horrible and I let EVERY pregnant woman at our company know how things were handled. I don't want to do anything legally about it because I like my job and don't want to leave the company.

This time, I am changing groups. Yes, it is horrible timing because I had to tell my boss about it before my review (again, supposed to be next week). We get annual raises with possibility of extra percentages for performance. My current boss who's group I am trying to get OUT of told me "well, I'm not going to put in for additional raise because you want to leave my group". What a crapbag but again, there is nothing I can do about it.

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WHAT A CROCK!!

I can't believe they actually say these things to you. Seems really unprofessional. Of course there is nothing that you can do about them now, but thank goodness you are getting out of that persons group.

Does your current pay have anything to do w/ your maternity pay? If so it could really help if you could get that additional raise.

Sometimes it is so hard to hold back when it seems like waves should be created. More power to you for keeping it under control!

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"lesleynka" wrote:

WHAT A CROCK!!

I can't believe they actually say these things to you. Seems really unprofessional. Of course there is nothing that you can do about them now, but thank goodness you are getting out of that persons group.

Does your current pay have anything to do w/ your maternity pay? If so it could really help if you could get that additional raise.

Sometimes it is so hard to hold back when it seems like waves should be created. More power to you for keeping it under control!

Yes, I have noticed while I was pregnant that my male boss is sexist and I think that does hold me back. I went back to his group after my maternity leave because I knew he would promote me and I wasn't sure if I would have the same opportunity in another group. Now that I have my promotion I am ready to get the heck out of dodge and work for another group. I have had many conversations with the group leader over there and SHE has already told me of all these managerial opportunities that I will get as soon as I transfer. I am so ready for this. I just have to wait until they hire in my replacement and I have to train the replacement. Honestly, no one can replace me Smile hahahahhaha j/k