40% of managers avoid hiring younger women to get around maternity leave | The Guardian

40% of managers avoid hiring younger women to get around maternity leave | The Guardian

The solution is clear: give men the same leave when he has a kid.

Can we file this under, "No shit."?

Seeing a statistic that 40% do this only tells you 60% lied about it.

Obviously companies do this. I would too. Employees and especially their managers have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the company.

Hiring someone who will take more time and resources over the next 2 years then they'll provide is a terrible business decision.

My previous emplyr had this issue. They offered a very generous maternity package.

We suddenly found so many newly married/young being referred and joined, and inexplicably going on leave after 7 months.

Which would incentivize the hiring of singles over married / coupled applicants. There's no clear solution here.

Heart attacks don't cause your friends to want to have heart attacks.

When one person starts showing off the scan of their tumor nobody else in the office starts thinking "awww... oh I really want one"

I know a female manager who's got a small department. They had 3 statisticians who were all young women and friends with each other.

Now this department relied heavily on their statisticians. Very heavily. That's partly why they had three, if one gets hit by a bus or quits there's 2 more who know what's going on who can keep things going smoothly who can get the replacement sorted out. If 2 of them get hit by meteors there's still one to carry on and keep things running smoothly.

So one day one of them has a printout of an ultrasound and is is being congratulated by her friends. No problem. The conversations all start to become very baby oriented and within a few months her friends have experienced the effect of seeing their friends in similar positions to themselves starting families and have decided to go the same way. Big problem

So very quickly this department has no statisticians in the case of 2 of them, with only slightly more than a months notice.

She can't hire replacements because these women still have jobs, their position in the organisation is filled. they are the permanent employees filling the post. But they're all due to be missing for almost a year.

So she can't actually hire a replacement, the best she can do is bring in extremely expensive temp agency staff who are shit in comparison to full time staff because they don't have the time to get really familiar with everything and are likely to be replaced with someone else every now and then because they're high skill employees who are probably looking for permanent positons elsewhere while temping.

The costs of the 3 statisticians maternity is still coming out of her budget which was pretty thins as it was and the inflated cost of their 3 replacements is also coming out of her budget.

None of the women off on maternity are going to cut down on their options for after the birth so they all claim they're going to be coming back right after maternity but in reality their priorities have changed, they're afluent high skill workers with afluent high skill partners and at the end of maternity they all decide they're sticking with raising their children full time and aren't coming back.

but until they actually commit to not coming back the department is massively fucked because they're missing a number of key staff in the same area and aren't allowed to hire permanent replacement because the women still have those jobs.

It fucked a number of projects, it cost a lot of money, vastly more than the maternity pay and the dishonsty of those statisticians claiming that of course they'd be coming back prevented her from being able to address the problem properly.

This manager learns from her mistakes: Do you think she will ever ever ever again allow more than 1 of those positions to be staffed by a young women of childbearing age at any one time?

Cancer, lighening strikes, trucks, these things can take out your empolyees but normally randomly and one at a time but only babies can prevent you from hiring replacements while inducing more of your staff to disappear at the same time making the problem worse.

Yeah, but once you run your own business you start to think rationally about real costs.

It's a stupid attitude to not hire someone otherwise qualified, because they might someday need a few weeks off

Saying "a few weeks" is playing down the actual cost. Maternity leave is up to a year off. Maternity pay is around £138.18 per week for 39 weeks. Sickness is around £87.55 per week for 28 weeks.


has a far higher cost than even long-term sickness is very likely in a female employee of the appropriate age (something like 80% of women will have children at some point) is a risk (to a business) in addition to all of the other "time off" risks you listed

For what it's worth, I don't agree with people not hiring because the prospective employee might have a baby, and the new rules mean a better deal for dads who want real paternity leave - and if I ever hire anyone, it's going to be regardless of the gender, with appropriate planning around risks like pregnancy and illness. But it's just blinkered to pretend that there isn't a potentially significant cost to hiring a woman in her 20s or 30s, and therefore a strong and entirely rational motivation not to do so.

Edit: I didn't know this, but the statutory pay that an employer pays out can be claimed back out of tax. So, as long as the company is profitable maternity pay incurs no additional direct cost. So, I guess the motivation is rather less strong than I thought.

It's not outrageous of them but we need to make sure that their incentives align with society's incentives - we don't want younger women to feel dis-incentivized to giving birth to our next generation.

The role of government in an economy is to make sure individual incentives and societal incentives don't get too far out of whack. If managers' hiring practices create a major externality of making middle-class young women less interested in childbearing, we have a problem.

"There is no excuse for such attitudes from these employers, who frankly are dinosaurs."

Apparently being a profit maximizer makes you a "dinosaur" these days.

Who knew?

Kinda hard to check if an applicant is in couple or not.

IDK, maybe having children should be treated as a choice with associated costs to be borne.

And to be clear, I have no issue with people taking maternity or even paternity leave. But you're not working during that period.

When my family owned a transportation consulting company, we were hit a bit hard by one of our programmers having to take leave to help his wife out with a new baby. We designed software for traffic counts, or I should say this programmer designed the software, and worked out the kinks, and I used the software, and found kinks, and so on. So for about 3 or 4 weeks, we had an arrangement where he basically worked from home. This was in the early days of telecommuting, so it was a struggle, and he was helping his wife with a new baby, so yeah he was kind of busy and not immediately available at times.

Some of you who are citing how much of a drag maternity/paternity leave laws are are indeed correct, it's not easy on a business, and it's true that if the laws weren't in place to guarantee a worker that, we probably would have considered letting him go to find someone who could actually do the job (there were no shortage of good programmers where we operated).

But it was worth it. The psychological value to him of being able to stay home for a few weeks to help with the transition from being just a couple to being a couple with a child was immensely helpful to him when he came back. Also, the occasional need for him to head home in a child-related emergency was really not much of a burden to us.

Beyond that though, my story is about a man, and unfortunately men do not continue to bear the burden of expectations that women do when it comes to childcare, or the incredibly infantile "observation" that women aren't as efficient at their jobs when they come back form maternity leave. That is just patently ridiculous, and yes the product of "dinosaur" thinking.

If you're in a country that says it's illegal to avoid hiring someone based on this decision, you do have that right...

Should i put "sterile" on my resume?

Actually, you can "force them to" using the right incentives.

I'll use the example of paid vacations in Brazil: the Brazilian law gives every employee 30 days of paid vacation, and you know how the government enforces it? It doesn't, the government doesn’t have special inspectors that knock on doors checking vacation time records, instead, an employee can simply sue the company and get a very big sum in damages. So the companies enforce it themselves, all companies actually force every single employee to take the vacations to avoid opening themselves to litigation. In many companies, all your passes are revoked for those 30 days and the building security won't even let you pass the door if you are on your vacation time.

So, if the USA stablish equal paternity leave, companies will soon learn that they have to give it or open themselves to litigation.

which is why men should have the same right to paternaty leave and it will all equal out

How does being named "Best Company for Women" help your bottom line? Being congratulated on a bunch of feminist blogs isn't very consoling when your company goes bankrupt.

Men don't take it and you can't force them to. So the employer still sees men as more desirable.

This is it. From a functional standpoint, it makes no difference if a member of the workforce isn't working because she's on maternity leave or if she's away on a cruise. In both cases, you're paying for nothing.

Granting women maternity pay and rights is in part supposed to maintain their participation in the economy and reduce the potential waste of all the training and investment made in them if they have to give up their career/job if they choose a child.

ALL companies have to follow these laws and no company exists in isolation - they all depend on the state, shared infrastructure and society to be able to function. Companies that break the law and discriminate against women when making employment decisions are effectively behaving like parasites in the economy - they are passing the burden of complying with the rules on to other businesses and choosing to exempt themselves from the regulations to give themselves a possible competitive advantage. Frankly any business that deliberately doesn't employ young women as a way of cutting potential costs deserves heavy punitive fines if caught, even if it is for no other reason than it being fair to the other businesses that do comply.

Its not my company's job to fund your lifestyle decisions. And in case you didn't notice, there is no shortage of people on the planet.

You have a right to reproduce, but you don't have the right to demand that I pay for it.

Hiring someone who will take more time and resources over the next 2 years then they'll provide is a terrible business decision.

This is shortsighted. There are other factors involved. I worked for a company that was consistently named among the best for women. They treated women well strictly for business reasons because they knew that most employees work longer than 2 years. It is incredible to me that so many people in this thread don't see that.

Of course all people have a right to reproduce. They do not have a right to be free from experiencing the real costs of that decision.

Crafting laws that create incentives to break those very laws (and can only be enforced with what amounts to thought crime) is a foolish endeavor.

I don't think it is "inexplicable" when a woman takes maternity leave :P

because they might someday need a few weeks off

I'm pretty sure maternity leave isn't just "a few weeks off." More like a few months. Which is a BIG DEAL! There's a reason why someone who said "Ima take three months off, 'k?" would get fucking fired instantly in any circumstance where the government didn't mandate that they not be fired.

Large institutions can shrug off the cost as a small part of the tremendous efficiency losses that they take on, but that does not mean that managers are necessarily going to be eager to risk the performance hit.

Sad you actually have to enforce "Don't be a greedy soulless piece of shit." as law.

Can't believe its only 40%.

Have you ever had to hire someone out of your pocket? Start a business, struggle to make ends meet in a cold, brutal, competitive world, then load your money into a t-shirt gun and fire it anywhere you want.

In case you didn't notice, the job market heavily favors companies these days, not job applicants.

No, the market rate for someone to take a 7 month contract as a self employed contractor was twice as much. The person had to leave their current position to take it, and would have to find another job after that 7 months was up.

In the US, at least, I believe it's illegal to use marital status as a basis for a hiring decision. Obviously that doesn't mean it doesn't happen, but hopefully a meme would develop among job seekers that you don't wear your wedding rings/talk about your spouse to a job interview.

(Then maybe that would incentivize hiring older people, who typically are past the "having kids" phase, but those people already have a hard enough time getting a job, so maybe that's a plus?)

What about ensuring emplyoment for all their other staff by not blindly hiring people that could potentially sink the business? Or do their lives not matter?

The business environment is super competitive. Not every company is a multi billion dollar conglomerate with excessive margins protected by lobby bought government agencies.

This targets successful women though. Do we really want to promote an environment where educated job seeking women are the ones discouraged from raising families?

I'm not really sure what a lot of the people in these comments want.

Do you want an end to maternity leave? If so, we're going to remove a lot of potential workers from the population simply because it is impossible for them to work for very long. Keep in mind that women are now more likely than men to have received a bachelor's degree by age 27. Unless your secondary proposal is "women should not go to school," that represents a tremendous waste of resources on people who cannot work with the degrees that they are getting. It also means that the gap would be filled by lower-performing men, as opposed to women who are capable but burdened by the fact that they often want to have children at some point during their lives.

The alternative to women simply not working is, of course, for women to simply stop having children nearly as often, which will stunt our population growth. In particular, successful women will stop having children, creating unique problems.

I fail to see how either situation costs less than companies losing some money on employees needing to take time to ensure their children are properly cared for. Perhaps shared parenting leave is preferable, where managers can no longer predict as accurately who will be taking time off of work, forcing them to hire more equitably. Still I think this is imperfect because women simply need more time off of work for parenting because of the hard physical demands of having a child (EDIT: my point being that managers will still know that young women will be taking more time off, eliminating the obscuring effect, not that paternity leave should not be an option because they need it slightly less). Ultimately though, this will still be a losing option for employers who want perfect employees, which we should all be fine with because those employers are dreaming of people who do not and have never existed.

But realistically I think a lot of you just want to complain about women.

No it's pretty simple these days. Look up all your applicants on Facebook.

On day redditers be like, "There's no discrimination in the job market, radical feminism needs to die!"... the next, "Why would I take the risk of hiring a female in her 20's just to have her leave?!"

The reasons for not hiring women are not driven by hatred of women, or some perceived inherent inferiority of women, but are an economic fact produced by our cultural values. Feminism thus doesn't seem relevant to this issue. You might as well say that the fact that a job requiring a degree of physical strength that the majority of women can't attain is discriminatory too.

It's undeniable that women take more parental leave than men in our culture. Therefore, it's undeniable that women cost a company more than men. The productivity/cost ratio is thus biased towards men, unless women are at least some constant factor more productive than men. This isn't the case to my knowledge, but please provide a citation if you believe otherwise.

Of course, just because the candidate is a woman does not mean she will take mat leave, which is where the real discrimination comes in. But it's illegal to actually ask if she's planning on taking mat leave in the next few years, or require that she not. In fact, the only real solution to eliminate this bias, is a mandatory parental leave for both men and women. This equalizes the economic costs of hiring fathers and mothers.

The only way to prevent this is by giving men and women equal parental leave. And then progressively change the culture so that men stay home more often taking care of the kids.

Still there will be more attractive groups for the employers, like male homosexuals. But it is impossible to prevent any kind of discrimination. Tall people also get hired more often, after all.

Why do people deny females (on avg) are less good at their jobs when they return (vs men)?

40% believe this, probably not because they're old & stupid, but because they've seen it first hand. The odds of staying late, working extra hours, being flexible, traveling... are greatly diminished for some new mothers. You can come up with reasons why, but the fact remains that many will be less good at their job.

It's like if they took on another full time job, would the work not suffer on job #1 with all the additional hours, responsibilities, etc.

If you're going to foist the burden off onto the parents quite so harshly, don't be shocked if there's no one to pay into social security for you in 35 years.

Men do have paternity leave. In the US, maternity leave isn't a thing -- not in the way it is in other countries, at least. It's unpaid FMLA leave, which both mothers and fathers are entitled to. Men just don't take it very often.

You're absolutely right, and it's frustrating that people are naively trying to pretend no one is making that decision in the hiring process.

You're going to get some discrimination whatever you do. Imho it's a preferable form of discrimination because it's gender-blind and singles can and will unpredictably become un-single, so the incentive to discriminate is not as strong.

Unpaid leave is just a job-placeholder. Very few US families are in a position to have no income right after an expensive life event like having a baby. So of course men don't take it because it's not a reasonable option and women often take very little of it for the same reason.

unpaid leave

So, no leave.

I had an extremely aggressive colleague a few years back. She was was fairly young and was employed for a specialised research manager position. She used to bitch in front of the office how the other 3 male managers (most who had 20+ years management experience) received more pay than her. 2 months in, gets preg and goes on maternity leave. Due to the specialised nature of the role, we had to pay more than twice her wage for a qualified contractor to temporarily take her place, while paying her maternity leave. She didn't think anything of it.

Except having a kid will impact work later on. Fatigue, sick days, kids events, etc

Maybe saving for retirement should also be treated as a choice with associated costs to be borne.

If it's good for society, tax something and let society pay for it. Making an individual business owner take this cost is madness.

Years ago at one interview, I could see the notes the person was writing down about me. I noticed she wrote "no ring" among her notes.

I recommend you read some basic employment law. Start with this link http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/fs-preg.html; and then read this http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-are-pregnant/know-your-rights.html.

Discrimination is necessary in life. I, personally set out to discriminate against lots of people when I hire. I discriminate against the lazy, the feckless, the bitchers & complainers, the criminal record holders, the late for interviewers, list goes on. I also discriminate against any candidates that will cost me substantially more money than a different candidate. I ain't a God damn charity.

Then as a citizen of this country, it's not my government's job to grant you limited liability protection. You can run your business as a sole proprietorship without any of the benefits this government-granted status gives you. You can be fully liable for all of your business's debts and mistakes.

You don't have a god-given write to a corporate charter. If you don't want the strings that come attached to that charter, then don't apply for it.

It's unfair to use Sweden as an example of a place where men don't take paternity leave, seeing as the COUPLE gets a guarantee of 16 months of parental leave, and they can distribute it between themselves however they wish. Also, 60 of those 480 days are reserved solely for the dad using the "daddy month" system. Basically if both the father and the mother take at least 2 months off, they get a bonus 2 months of leave.

Also, your statement isn't even true. Nearly 90% of Swedish fathers take paternity leave.


How is babby form?

Also, after maternity leave, it's taking care of the baby. Child is sick, gotta take a day off. I'm sick, gotta take a day off. Child's doctor's appointment: day off... Ask employee to work overtime to release a big project, nope- gotta take care of the baby, no sitter available.

I'm a woman (29) with no children yet. This scares me that I want a better job (going to college now and working full time) and a child in the near future. In a few years, I'm up for both these things, and childless may hinder my prospective job outcomes.

...in the US, they already get that. It's just FMLA unpaid leave for 90 days after a medical procedure, illness, or to care for an immediate family member. That's what women use for so-called "maternity leave" in the US, if they qualify.

Labour Lawyer working in 17 Latin American jurisdictions here, and I feel compelled to say that you don't know the half of it. Your protections are minimal compared to the ones in this region.

Maternity leave in this region is much more "established" than in any other part of the world I know of. Not only is there paid leave with full salary and benefits, but on average, a period of two years employment protection upon return -i.e. you cannot terminate this person for any reason unless by way of mutual agreement, and even then, your starting point for negotiation would be the remaining period of their employment protection in salary and benefits. If you don't negotiate well, you're looking at them sitting on your books, unproductive and protected until the leave period is over. Even with mutual agreement, there is occasionally recourse for the employee to claim that they were coerced into it. At that point, you're looking at reinstatement and additional payouts. In most cases, employers sit back, suck it up, and wait for the protection period to be over, and then terminate. It is a costly, unproductive debacle.

The exception would be if you find the employee flagrantly committing an act of theft or similar (in flagrantis) and can prove it without a shade of doubt. "Without a shade of doubt" would usually be a security video, numerous witnesses, and an employee that doesn't deny their actions.

In addition to the employment protection, there are "breastfeeding" allowances (a few hours off a week to breastfeed up until a certain age), childcare subsidies payable by law and non-taxed, and medical certificates for parents that allow for more protected employment situations to care for their children up until a certain age, in the case of grave illnesses, with full salary and benefits paid during the time off. That said, colic is considered a "grave" illness in some jurisdictions. Needless to say, these benefits are absolutely milked and are often used as shelter for employees that poorly perform, or no longer work. Hell, I have seen cases where the person has clearly only taken the job to receive a salary before, during, and after pregnancy, with no intention of actually producing.

So, if this kind of discrimination based on fertile age is occurring in countries with less favourable maternity protection-related laws, you can only imagine how it occurs here in Latin America. I am a female myself, and can say with no doubt whatsoever that in my own company, I would absolutely avoid women of childbearing age like the plague. Way too much financial and productive burden. I love these benefits in principle, I love the spirit of protection of the family and motherhood, but in practice, it simply does not work and ultimately damages women's possibilities in the labour market.

I actually know someone that got fired after his vacation. He was a bartender and on the 2 weeks he was gone the pour cost went down so much they knew he was stealing or completely incompetent. Either way the result was the same.

It's leave where you still accrue seniority and are insulated from termination.

Women can not be rejected nor fired for being absent due to pregnancy, which could take months -- yet he (or she:p) has to cover her salary for 100% and can not compromise her position in the business.

This is precisely why the alleged situation (I never trust the Guardians word on anything) occurs. Unless you can somehow enforce gender anonymity in the hiring process you will never be able to avoid managers preferring an applicant that does not have the risk of a year-long paid absence.

That is not the clear solution, because men do not take the same amount or frequency in countries that have both.

The fact is that mothers will need to take more leave the fathers anyways, so nothing really changes.

But you could try to "force" men to take more leave, but therein lies a problem:

Because women choose to take more leave, is that saying we should artificially force men to do so, meaning instead of treating men and women like adults who weigh the costs and benefits of their decisions, we just hold men to consequences of women's decisions?

That's infantilizing on multiple fronts.

That's a nice narative you've given us but here's where it falls apart:

So a woman leaves for maternity leave after three years of working with the company

People no longer stay with their jobs that long. the more likely narrative nowadays is the new mother has been with the company a year and might not stick around much longer than that when she comes back.

Here's something to backup the idea that people just don't stay at their jobs long, with young people staying less than average:


Indeed, a friend of the family went of business because of it. He ran a hair salon and 3 of his stylists fell pregnant at the same time. He was ruined. Not only do you have to continue to pay them but also pay someone else (usually more) to replace them temporarily.

With my previous employer, we had a lady try to sue us for discrimination because the position she applied for required 3 years of managerial experience, which she claimed to have, but when we called her previous employer they said she was out on leave for about a year total after having two kids and was on light duty not related to her primary job for another 6 months so she basically had about a year and a half of relevant experience AND she was pregnant when she came in for an interview.

Seems like a cut and dry case of unqualified applicant, but our hiring manager thoroughly went through job codes and had several phone calls with the department of labor just to make sure.

Not really sure why people expect businesses to handle things like sick leave and maternity/parental leave - social costs should be handled socially to prevent exactly these sorts of 'abuses'. Government mandated and tax funded maternity and parental leave would solve so many problems (the business still cops a bit because they need to train/hire a temp, but the temp needn't be paid as well as the normal occupant). For that matter, it shouldn't even require the parent to be working to get the parental payments, if they can prove they handle household duties/childcare for siblings which are going to be disrupted the same way work would be.

You do know that short term professional replacements are a whole other market, right. This person would have much shorter time to get acquainted with the organisation and its practices. These are people that you pay for things to simply work while your ordinary staff is unavailable. Therefore they are often paid more. The alternative would be to hire new regular staff and that may create problems for when the position is no longer required.

You can't explain it!

All of humanity wants younger women to pop out kids at the maximum rate possible?

Strawman. Who said anything about the maximum rate? The original post said we don't want to disincentivize women from giving birth to the next generation. Not disincentivizing does not imply incentivizing, and even incentivizing does not imply we want them all to pop out kids at the maximum rate.

Because every redditor holds all the same opinions. Clearly. If maternity laws (and the incentives they create) were the result of lobbying by feminists, don't they get to own the results?

From a business stand point it's understandable but honestly I work with incredibly smart women who take maternity leave but if you want talent, this is what you want to deal with.

We live in a time where it's all about working and making top earnings. The family dynamic has taken a backseat in this country and it's unfortunate.

People tend to ignore or downplay reality when it conflicts with their ideal.

Every person breaks some law somewhere.

You Commit Three Felonies a Day

So if I'm a small business, can I have salaried employees but just simply not offer maternaty leave?

Not in the UK, no.

Labor law is a thing, balancing your needs with other people's. I have a right to demand you pay me 50% more if I give you more than 40 hours a week, because you're cutting into my lifestyle at that point.

Save all you like... what good will it do you when there's no young person to pay it to for your nursing home care or whatever else it is you think you were going to spend the savings on.

Pretending that this is about money and money alone is dumb.

The only way to prevent this is by giving men and women equal parental leave.

It would have to be equal mandatory leave.

Sweden has equal rights for both parents to take equal maternity and paternity leave, because as a society they've realized that having BOTH parents during early child development is absolutely a huge benefit.

but the real problem here is the employer is discriminating against a worker because they have a uterus, and has nothing to do with paternity leave.

Men don't take it

Is there any evidence to support this? If yes, then the rest of your analysis holds.

I'm not sure if discriminating against people who get married is preferable from a social policy standpoint. I don't think any society has a vested interest in disincentivizing the formation of families.

He could find replacements; they were just expensive as they cannot be given permanent contracts.

The problem is that while you can claim the money back you can only do that after it has been paid and so causes major cash flow issues.

Employees and especially their managers have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the company.

That word. I do not think it means what you think it means. Employee - Employer relationships are not legally a fiduciary relationship. There's no "in trust" relationship like there is with a lawyer.

I'm splitting hairs I realize.

Let me guess....you are an objectivist?

Just take off your ring for job interviews.

The issue I see with that is you're still losing an experienced specialist and have to deal with getting someone new up to speed, then another transition period once the leave ends.

Came here to say this. I doubt 40% are simply wrong or have a grudge against mothers.

I think it gets more interesting when you simplify things. Imagine someone who does landscaping for a living. He normally does this alone, but business is picking up. He wants to hire a helper.

Suppose he does a specialized type of landscaping and would have to devote a week to training this helper before he or she becomes useful. Ideally he only wants to do this week once per season since otherwise it'd reduce the number of jobs he can take.

He has two prospective hires: both equally capable. However, in one's case, he happens to know there's a decent chance this guy will move to a different state midway through the season. He thinks about how he wants to be able to provide for his family, so he chooses the guy who he knows for sure won't move away.

Now, would you say this employer has devalued human life down to the bottom line costs? I know he's just one person, but large companies are also made up of people. When you criticize companies, you're actually criticizing "human" decisions and motives.

Tell me, is/was your mother a stay-at-home mom?

All good laws are just "don't be an asshole" written in a more formal way.

Your basic premise that a woman who went on maternity leave will come back dedicated to the company is the problem. Lots of these mothers will find that childcare is too expensive so they quit and decide to stay at home full time, others may want a lighter schedule so they can be with their children more.

Plus contractors usually do not get any other compensation besides their salary, so the monetary value of the benefits they would be receiving as an employee goes into their salary.

A friend got 3 months of after adopting. And subsequently did it 4 more times.

I don't think its illegal, but I think it would be a wash. Lots of companies look for married people because it means:

marital status is one of the protected classes under US Federal Law. You can read more about protected classes -> http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/qanda.html

It's not about the value of human life, it's about the expected value increase for the employer. Getting paid for work is never about you value as a human being, but about the amount of your work benefit the employer.

wedding rings?

It's not outrageous of them but we need to make sure that their incentives align with society's incentives

What does this even mean? This is an outcome of attempting to align employer incentives with "society's incentives." There are many, many "compassionate" people that insist on paid maternity leave, equal pay legislation and other strict laws that raise the potential costs of hiring an equally qualified woman. The intention is to help women, but in the incentives game intentions mean nothing.

This is the fault of attempting to align employer incentives with what you consider to be "society's incentives."

Who's "we"?

Humanity obviously. Are you not a human?

Oh, the amount of stupid in the quotes in that article:

British business simply can't afford to lose out on half of the available talent pool.

Employers that do this are [...] incredibly stupid as they are missing out on many of the country's brightest young workers.

If that was the case, the problem would quickly correct itself, with the employers who preferred not to hire young women being outcompeted by the ones who did.