The job market can be a scary and daunting place for pregnant women. Finding employment when pregnant is tough, and many employers see you as a “bad investment”. Don’t despair – there are positions for pregnant women, many of which would offer you the flexible hours you need.
If you are employed in a company prior to finding out you are pregnant, you will be sitting pretty through your pregnancy. Most South African companies entitle you to four months paid maternity leave. You can decide if you want to take a month of that prior to giving birth, or work right up until the time you have the baby, and then enjoy the full four months afterwards.
There are numerous advantages to being in a stable job and company when you fall pregnant. Paid leave is a huge bonus, especially when your monthly grocery bill suddenly includes formula, nappies, bottles, baby food and so on. This way, you are free to enjoy the baby without stressing too much about the financial implications it brings along with it. Another advantage is that, if your company assists with medical aid, you know this is sorted through this time. Lastly, it is great for women to know that they have a job to go back to after their maternity leave. This again allows them to truly enjoy this time without the pressure of having to find work at the same time.
Bear in mind that if you are in this situation, the company requires you to go back to work for a minimum period to “pay back” the leave they have granted you. In many companies this period is a year, but it varies. Many women take maternity leave with the intention of returning to work four months later, only to realise that they want to be a full-time mom. It’s great to be in a position to make this decision, but ensure you know your employment conditions prior to announcing your resignation – you could find that you suddenly owe the company a lot of money!
If, however, you are not employed at the time you find out you are pregnant, you could feel that your options are somewhat limited. Companies are reluctant to take on pregnant women, mainly due to the disruption factor that this brings along with it. It is also difficult for companies to grant four months maternity leave to a new person who they don’t know, and who might not return after that period.
What about freelancing opportunities for Mum’s-to-be?
Freelancing, work-from-home opportunities and part-time jobs all afford expecting moms the freedom to earn money, without having to prove their staying power in a corporate environment. These options also set them up to be able to work and spend time with the baby once the baby is born.
If you are a writer, copywriter, creative, proof-reader, editor or designer, freelancing could be the ideal job for you. While it is tough in that you need to secure your own pay-check, the bonus of this is that the sky is the limit – there is no ceiling on what you can earn, if you work hard. Freelancing is mostly done at home, which is a huge advantage to expecting and young moms.
There are also numerous work-from-home opportunities advertised on the Internet – some of these involve sending out letters and communication to various people on databases, while others involve selling products to friend and family within a particular network. Just be wary of these offers – some of them really are too good to be true.
If you are a pregnant women needing to earn money, there are many options out there for you – decide what is right for you, and go out and make it happen!