When interviewing, imagine these scenarios: one woman is noticeably pregnant and another is not currently pregnant, but openly speaks on her desire to start a family in the near future. Both women are extremely qualified, friendly and fully capable of handling the job - big belly or not.
Knowing these women will both need time off from work to have the baby and recover, which could potentially put you in a bind, what are you supposed to do?
The law states that employers are not allowed, under any circumstances, to discriminate against a pregnant woman. This includes hiring, firing, training and more.
As far as health insurance is concerned, employers must also cover expenses for conditions related to a pregnancy just as they would cover any other type of medical expense. Health insurance and pregnancy is very important to understand for both the employer and the pregnant employee.
Tips for employers when interviewing a pregnant woman
First, note that it is illegal to ask a woman if she is pregnant while interviewing.
Hopefully, especially if she is already showing, she will be open with you on her pregnancy, due date and how much time off she will need. There is a chance she won't mention her pregnancy, though, or she's too early for you to notice. If that's the case, you'll have to work with her on needed time off and health insurance questions once she's hired.
When interviewing a woman who is expecting, focus on her skills to get the job done, not the fact that she's pregnant.
Research shows that only about 5 percent of the population doesn't want children, so at some point in time, your business is most likely going to have to deal with a pregnancy.
The Center for American Progress found that about 75 percent of working women will have at least one pregnancy during their career.
Most of these women will not leave their job once they have their baby, either. Some women have to work for financial reasons; others simply enjoy working and the rewards that come with having a job.
Most qualified candidate can't be overlooked
Pregnant or not, it's up to your business to hire the most qualified candidate.
Pregnancy is a short-term condition that won't affect your business much, if at all when you have others in place to cover someone out on maternity leave. Focus on what the candidate brings to the table and how they will benefit your business.
For pregnant women, it typically is safe to work up until your baby is due, but always check with your doctor regarding what your limitations are.
If you have health problems or if your job requires heavy lifting, you'll most likely have to cut back. Stress from work can also affect unborn babies, so it's recommended that pregnant women keep their stress levels as low as possible.
Overall, it's much better to hire a pregnant woman who is a great fit for the position, who is willing to work hard and get the job done and who is passionate about your company than it is to hire an "OK" candidate that isn't as qualified.
Recruiters: What tips do you have for pregnant women interviewing for jobs?
Photo credit: Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
About the Author: Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Glendale, AZ. She writes on small businesses, personal finance and health insurance.