IN KARLA Way-McPhail's Yeppoon business there are plenty of young women who she knows may one day want to start a family.
So the Coal Train director and mother of three was disgusted to hear that some people in the community would not hire them based on their gender.
In a letter to the editor published on Wednesday, Rockhampton man Alan Collett said if he had a business he would be reluctant to hire young women because they might get pregnant and access paid parental leave. His comment generated more than 5000 views and 70 comments on The Bulletin's Facebook page with opinion split.
But the successful businesswoman slammed the comments as a disgusting generalisation that showed a narrow-minded view.
"As an employer and a businesswoman, there is no point where I would consider if a person is young or old, male or female," she said.
"It's 100% on the skill set they bring to my office and their ability to do their job."
Ms Way-McPhail also raised the point that men also have access to paid paternity leave, and therefore women were not the only ones who took time off after having children.
"If you have such a narrow-minded opinion to say you'd only employ people without children, good luck, because that's less than 10% of the population."
She also rubbished claims the scheme costs small businesses money, as it is a government-funded scheme.
Karla believes if you help create a good work and life balance for employees, they become more productive, settled and loyal. She said that investment brings their expertise back to you when they return.
"I have extraordinary employees in my business who are mothers and they bring great experience," she said.
"I think the workforce should support the family unit."
Paid Parental Leave
- The Paid Parental Leave scheme provides financial support to eligible working parents of newborn or recently adopted children.
- The Federal Government funds employers to provide leave pay.
- Eligible working parents can get this government-funded pay; up to 18 weeks parental leave pay for the child's primary carer, or two weeks dad and partner pay.
Battle of the Sexes
- In 2010-11 around 80% of males aged between 20 and 74 were in the labour force, compared with 65% of females.
- In 2011-12 the rates of underutilisation for men who have a child under six was 6.2%, rising to 6.3% when the youngest child was aged between six and 14.
- The underutilisation rates for females with children under six was 14.9%, which rose to 16.1% when the child was between six and 14.
- Underutilisation is a combination of the unemployed and underemployed. Underemployment refers to people whose labour is not fully utilised in their job.
- Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics