Outdated and discriminatory
Female Cabin Crew who fell pregnant while working for Singapore Airlines were expected to disclose their news and go on unpaid leave. After giving birth, the women had to resign, despite the airline labelling them as having ‘left’.
If the new mothers desired to return to work, they would have to go through the application process again, under the Singapore Airlines returning crew scheme. Employment was not guaranteed.
This policy continued for over 10 years, despite public backlash and condemnation over inequality.
Cabin Crew staffing shortage
The aviation industry was badly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, airlines are scrambling to recruit enough staff to ensure smooth operations. Other airlines may follow suit and begin evaluating their policies to see if the airline is an appealing choice for prospective Cabin Crew.
In with the new
Singapore Airlines pregnant Cabin Crew can now expect to be allocated ground assignments. These will last between 3 and 9 months and could include admin, customer feedback, events planning or content creation.
The airline stated
“We continue to work hard to retain our talented people, and we mean to further support our cabin crew during and after their pregnancy.”
Pregnant Cabin Crew will still be required to go on unpaid leave. However, they can carry out paid ground roles until their maternity leave pay comes into effect. And pregnant Cabin Crew will now be able to return to flying duties after their babies are born.
Progress, but further change needed
While it’s a step in the right direction for expectant Cabin Crew, activists argue that it’s not enough. They think Cabin Crew should be allocated ground duties rather than having to apply, which is time-consuming and unnecessarily complicated.
Another concern was over Singapore Airlines’ grooming regulations and uniform policy. Women’s bodies change during pregnancy and stringent sizing requirements could cause issues for new mothers returning to flying duty.
Other airlines globally have begun to relax their strict rules regarding Cabin Crew appearance. Virgin Airlines have recently permitted tattoos and even introduced gender-neutral uniforms for their Cabin Crew.
The future for Cabin Crew
The glamorous Cabin Crew stereotype is still maintained at airlines around the world. However, change is upon us.
Airlines are recognising the shift towards equality and inclusivity, and as such are introducing more modern policies. Finally, Cabin Crew don’t have to worry about losing their jobs just because they want to start a family.