Stronger rights for new and expectant mothers considered

Expectant Mothers | HR Solutions

The Government is considering introducing more legal protection for expectant and new mothers who feel forced out of their jobs.

New consultation will look into strengthening the existing law against maternity discrimination. This is in response to recommendations made last year by the Women and Equalities Committee.

Unacceptable discrimination

It’s illegal to discriminate against a woman because of pregnancy or having recently given birth. This protection extends from when a woman is pregnant to the end of her maternity leave.

But last year the parliamentary committee heard evidence, described as “shocking”, that discrimination was commonplace. Since 2005, the number of expectant and new mothers forced to leave work had nearly doubled to 54,000. Research also showed that 11% of mothers felt forced out of their jobs,  mainly due to bad treatment by their bosses rather than redundancy or direct dismissal.

The Government says that this is unacceptable.

Brexit won’t dilute rights

The committee made up of MPs made 18 recommendations to put an end to unfair treatment by employers. They also recommended that women receive much more legal protection,

A separate review of employment practices will compare the rights of agency, zero-hours and temporary staff to permanent employees.

The Government has also emphasised that leaving the European Union will not dilute UK workers’ rights. But it rejected the proposal to extend the timeframeto lodge discrimination cases with the employment tribunal. The Government doesn’t believe there’s strong enough evidence that the current three- month limit has deterred women from making a claim relating to pregnancy or maternity issues.

However, the Government will consider reminding tribunals of their ability to  extend time limits if they feel it’s appropriate.

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