Every year, 54,000 women lose their jobs due to pregnancy and maternity discrimination...
If someone treats you unfairly due to pregnancy, breastfeeding or because you’ve recently given birth, this is pregnancy and maternity discrimination under the The Equality Act 2010. Women are directly protected by this act for 26 weeks after giving birth.
In the workplace, discrimination can take the form of singling out pregnant employees or new mothers for redundancy, mishandling requests for flexible working upon return, or by failing to pay or communicate with an employee during maternity leave.
Pregnant women and new mothers are also often discriminated against during the recruitment process. By having greater transparency on parental leave and pay, this is can be avoided. This would also incentivise employers to offer more generous parental pay.
The government are sitting on legislation requiring companies with 250 or more employees to publish their policies on parental leave and pay. This needs to be brought forward at once.
It is clear and obvious that this country has a culture of intense pregnancy discrimination in the workplace if 54,000 women each year are losing their jobs. It is an outrage that we are not protecting new mothers, and not supporting them both whilst on leave and when integrating them back into the working environment.
Wera said: “As a mother of four, it saddens me that women are being discriminated against in the workplace during and after pregnancy. Companies need to have greater transparency around leave and pay to give more security to women at such a stressful and busy time. If the government bring forward legislation requiring companies to publish their policies, then we can begin to end this discrimination culture.”