Handbags at dawn for maternity leave discussions?

Luxury handbag designer Anya Hindmarch speaks out

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According to current law, an employer is allowed to ask an employee about her maternity leave plans, but the employee isn’t obliged to answer: a sort of ‘mum’s the word’ arrangement. And luxury handbag designer Anya Hindmarch isn’t happy about it.

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The working mum of five says: “There is a brown envelope flashing above every woman’s head in terms of tribunal threat. I think [regulations] could end up working against women, unfortunately.”

“As a woman, a mother-of-five and an employer of a lot of women with children, it would end up making you make a choice between employing a man or a woman. You probably might pick the easier route because the regulation and consequential cost and eggshell treading would just be too onerous.”

The designer, whose totes retail at over a thousand pounds, told Vogue magazine: “I cannot say strongly enough that any more regulation will cripple this country. We are so over-regulated.”

“I find myself treading on eggshells and becoming hugely legal. It just feels really wrong,” she added of conversations with her staff about their maternity leave. 

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