The Human Rights Commissioner has hit out at those asking the newly minted Labour leader Jacinda Ardern about any baby plans.

Jesse Mulligan first raised the issue mere hours into Ardern's new role, when he asked her on The Project whether she felt she had to make a decision between continuing to progress her career or having babies.

The next morning, fellow TV3 host Mark Richardson took it further on The AM Show when he said the country had a right to know, and that employers should also be able to ask their employees.

Ardern has responded so far that she doesn't mind the question being directed to her personally, but that Richardson's push for women in general to tell employers about pregnancy plans was "totally unacceptable".


Now Human Rights Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue has waded into the debate, penning an opinion piece for The Spinoff.

"Whether a woman intends on having children or not, is none of their bloody business.

"Oh, and by the way, it's illegal to ask those questions as they breach the Human Rights Act."

Blue wrote that the gender pay gap rose "markedly" when women became parents.

While it was about 5 per cent for non-parents, it jumped to a gap of 17 per cent for working mums and dads.

"Employers need to be adaptable and they need to be flexible," Blue wrote.

"They need to be creating environments where having children isn't seen as a nuisance or a hassle.

"Environments where having a womb doesn't preclude a person from doing their job.


"Environments that value great employees and respect the idea that having children and a career isn't founded on compromise."

Blue wrote that anyone interested in brushing up on what can and can't be asked in a job interview should reading their A-Z Pre-Employment Guide for Employers and Employees.

The full article is available on The Spinoff.