Maternity Action speaks to more than 2,500 pregnant women and new parents each year about the problems they encounter at work. At our Parliamentary event on 7 November 2017, we released a report which analyses the law, women’s experiences and strategies to address the problem of unfair redundancies.
We are calling on Government to take immediate action to end unfair redundancies
Government should change the law to prohibit redundancies for women from pregnancy through to six months after return to work, except in specified circumstances. This model was recommended by the Parliamentary Women and Equalities Select Committee in 2016 and is already in place in Germany.
While this legislation is in development, the protections now in place for women on maternity leave should be extended to cover pregnancy through to six months after return to work. These require employers to offer women a suitable alternative job, without interview, if a role is available.
These legal protections for pregnant women and new mothers should be extended to fathers and partners taking paternity, shared parental and parental leave during pregnancy and their child’s first year.
More should be done to bring an end to pregnancy and maternity discrimination
Additionally, employers should be encouraged to evaluate their retention rates for pregnant women as part of the gender pay gap reporting. Public reporting will help employers to focus on prevention.
The timeframe for making a claim to the employment tribunal should be extended from three to six months for all pregnancy and maternity-related discrimination claims
Employers should have better information on their legal obligations. ACAS guidance for employers should be updated and all Government guidance on managing new parents should be brought together in one place on the Government website.
Women should be given information on rights at work when they need it – starting with their first antenatal appointment. The Government should provide funding to women’s charities to deliver specialist information and advice on maternity rights at work and to raise women’s awareness about their entitlements.