NZ Human Rights Commission says employers cannot ask this important question

A friend of mine runs a very large business and has held hundreds of interviews over the past couple of decades. I know for a fact that she has asked this important question before. She asks it because the answer will tell her whether or not her prospective employee is likely to leave her looking for a reliever at the last possible minute.

The purpose of the question that the HRC says is unacceptable is no different to the purpose of these interview questions:

  1. Have you your own reliable transport?
  2. If you are taking public transport what is your backup plan if you miss the bus or the train?
  3. How long will it take you to get to work every morning?
  4. Do you have a job anywhere else and if so what hours and days do you work there?

Asking about child care arrangements is no different to asking if they have a backup plan if they miss the bus or the train. As an employer you are obligated to provide sick days for your staff but you are not obligated to provide time off so that they can care for their sick children. An employer needs to be assured that if a staff member’s child is sick that they have childcare arrangements in place so that a sick child will not impact on their ability to work.

I think that is completely reasonable. What do you all think?

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