Lord Sugar has said that women need to tell potential employers if they plan to become mothers.
Speaking at a Lord's debate ahead of International Women's Day, Lord Sugar - who hosts the BBC TV show The Apprentice - said that women must be more upfront about their plans for the future.
'I believe the employment regulations for women, whereby the prospective employer is not able to inquire about the interviewee's status regarding children or childcare – or indeed their intention of becoming a parent – are counterproductive. Some women may agree with me on this,' he said.
'As things stand, regardless of current laws and regulations, interviewers are forced to play out some kind of psychological charade where they know their obligations under law but effectively, in some cases, make up their mind in advance about the prospects of employing the person sitting in front of them.'
Lord Sugar went on to say that women must be more 'forthcoming' when applying for jobs:
'I say women should be forthcoming when being interviewed, declaring their status regarding children and childcare so as to pre-empt the unanswerable questions in the mind of the interviewer and then focus on the most important thing: what skills they can bring to the company and why they should be employed.
'I would be very impressed by a person who settled the matter at the outset, telling me how they are going to organise their life in order to do their job but, more importantly, how they are going to get on with the job in hand – what they are going to bring to the party. Such people would jump up in my estimation.'
It is obviously a matter close to Lord Sugar's heart at the moment as the winner of 2009's The Apprentice show Yasmina Siadatan, 29, is currently on maternity leave after becoming pregnant by a colleague just weeks after taking on her job.
Lord Sugar said: 'She has done a very good job and, of course, her position will be completely open to her when she returns.'
What do you think?
Is Alan Sugar right?
Should women be more open about their baby plans?
Do you think businesses - and other staff - suffer because of women's maternity leave?
Or do you think women are already at a disadvantage, compared to men?