Last week, my boss told me she was reducing my work hours by 70%, with the claim that there wasn’t enough work for me to do in the office. It’s a funny claim: first of all, I’d only been working there for three months – so you’re saying that three months ago, there was a job to do, and now there isn’t? Secondly, I work in social media marketing and content writing – there is an endless amount of things to do in this field! The fact that my boss hasn’t utilized my skills doesn’t mean I should be penalized with a 70% pay cut, right?
But more than that – I’m seven months pregnant. Which means that if my boss were to reduce my hours significantly, my paid maternity leave would also be reduced significantly – the way it’s calculated is by your last three paychecks, which in my case, would be 70% less than I expected. Moreover, it’s not even like I could look for a new job at this point – no one, and I mean no one, is going to hire a woman who is seven months pregnant!
Needless to say, I was furious. But worse, I thought I had no rights, because some faulty information on the internet led me to believe that employees are only protected after six months, and I had only been there for three.
Luckily, I vented about this injustice to some mothers at the local park. They recommended that I call Kav LaOved, a hotline for workers’ rights. I called them, and lo and behold – I was told emphatically that it is illegal to reduce the working hours of a pregnant woman, regardless of how long she’s worked there. Booyah!
However, Kav LaOved also told me that while my boss couldn’t reduce my hours, she could fire me since I hadn’t been there for six months. Which sounded great to me. Yes, fire me! I can then collect unemployment as well as maternity leave, and I won’t have to come to work for a woman who treats employees as expendable and lacks basic human decency!
I confronted my boss with my newfound knowledge, and she squirmed and balked, said she wasn’t sure I was right and would have to check it out with her boss – a typical maneuver of any manager who is backed into a corner. Throughout the course of our conversation, she kept trying to get me to accept a compromise – “only” a 35% reduction of work hours – but I held my ground. She could either keep me for the original amount of hours we signed on, or fire me.
Unfortunately, she didn’t even have the decency to fire me. I told her I wouldn’t file a complaint, but apparently, all employers are terrified of the possible legal ramifications of firing a pregnant woman. So I’m stuck here, at least with my original hours and paycheck, but working for someone I totally disrespect, and who frankly, disgusts me.
But that’s life, right? At least I stood up for my rights and won a small victory. And it’s not just my victory – it’s a victory for my family. That’s who I’m fighting for in the end, after all.