Maternity Action campaigns to strengthen maternity rights for all women and their partners. We are a charity delivering specialist advice on maternity rights at work, maternity benefits and maternity rights for vulnerable migrant women. Each year, we advise over 2,500 new parents about their rights.
We lead the coalition, Alliance for Maternity Rights, which successfully lobbied the Government to undertake research into maternity discrimination at work. Maria Miller MP and Jo Swinson MP, until recently our Chair, commissioned a major national research project which was released in 2016. This research has given us the evidence that maternity discrimination is widespread and has worsened dramatically in the past ten years: Each year 54,000 women lose their job as a result of maternity discrimination, an 80% increase since 2006.
Normally, Government takes action after releasing a major research project but with this issue, we are yet to see any action. To put this back on the agenda, we keep working to raise the issue in Parliament. We supported two Parliamentary debates in Westminster Hall which you can read here and here. We held two events in Parliament where parents could hear Conservative, Labour and Scottish National Party MPs calling for action. We have also asked MPs from different parties to ask questions in Parliament.
We appeared before Parliament’s Women and Equalities Select Committee inquiry into pregnancy and maternity-related discrimination and provided written evidence. We were delighted that their recommendations were closely aligned with our Action Plan to end pregnancy discrimination.
In the lead-up to the General Election, we lobbied political parties to make commitments to tackle maternity discrimination in their manifestos. We succeeded in securing commitments in the Labour, Scottish National Party, Green Party and Liberal Democrat manifestos.
We are now running a series of campaigns to prod the Government to take maternity discrimination seriously and to make the changes to law and policy which will genuinely improve the lives of working women and their partners.
You can find out more about our board and staff on our main website.