Do Women Lose Out More on Redundancy?
In an age of equality it is hard to believe that one gender could be hit harder than another when it comes to redundancy.
It may be against the law for an employer to discriminate against women when selecting candidates for redundancy, but in reality women are losing out compared to men.
Why Are Women Hit HarderResearch shows that in previous recessions a lot of the redundancies have been focused on male dominated sectors such as construction and manufacturing.
But recent downturns have also hit female dominated sectors such as retail, hospitality and administration.It is no longer the case that the man is the sole breadwinner in a family and 90% of single parent families are headed up by women, which means there is more responsibility on the female and it is a bigger blow if she loses her job.
Figures from the Trade Union Congress show the latest economic downturn led to an increase in the female redundancy rate of 2.3%, almost double the 1.2% rate for men.
Different RegionsThe latest recession seems to have created somewhat of a north south divide, with more female workers than men in the North being hit with redundancy.
This again comes down to the type of industries that are affected by redundancy. The latest recession has hit some smaller businesses worse than larger ones. Research shows women tend to play a more predominant part in smaller firms.
Many more women also work in part-time work employment compared to men and within the public sector, two areas that have been affected by redundancies of late.
Practicalities of Redundancy for WomenResearch by TUC in the UK, shows women are more likely than men to be in low-paid work and are less likely than men to have savings and therefore face a greater risk of immediate poverty as they become unemployed.
Women could also face particular barriers to finding new work. Women with children and childcare responsibilities may have worked part-time or on a flexible basis. Finding this type of work is harder to find as it is in higher demand, so it will put restrictions on many women’s job searches.
It is against the law to discriminate against a woman because she is pregnant or married, but there are a number of cases where employers do.
A lot has been done for women in the workplace, but this has also acted as a hindrance for some female workers.Many employers will see maternity pay, parental leave and childcare benefits as expensive and an extra burden to their business so they will avoid recruiting women with children, even though this is wrong.
Female employees can take action if they believe they have been unfairly dismissed but many employers again see this as an added cost of recruiting females and many fear action could be taken.
What is Being DoneThe UK government is concerned about the rate at which women are losing their jobs in the downturn compared to men and is working with employers to make sure that women are not discriminate against when it comes to redundancies.
It is concerned that employers are targeting women on maternity leave and those who work part-time, rather than their male counterparts who work on a full-time basis.
The government fears some are being laid off because bosses are seeking to avoid costs associated with the introduction of longer maternity leave and flexible working rights.
It plans to take action and launch an inquiry into sex discrimination at work, offering training for women to help them compete for jobs and it plans to monitor companies to check they are not unfairly targeting women.
Many employers discriminate against women without even realising, but ignorance is not an excuse and employers should be knowledgeable about employment law and when something is unlawful.
If you feel you are being discriminated against you should speak with your employer immediately and if necessary take action.