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May boosts plans for helping pregnant women returning to work

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Pregnant women and new parents returning to work after having children are to be further protected from unfairly losing their jobs under new proposals set out by the Government today. 

The consultation, launching tomorrow, proposes that the legal protection against redundancy for pregnant women and new mothers on maternity leave is extended so that it continues for up to six months after they return to work. It will also seek views on affording the same protection to parents returning from adoption leave or shared parental leave. 

Research commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), found one in nine women said they had been fired or made redundant when they returned to work after having a child, or were treated so badly they felt forced out of their job. The same research estimates 54,000 women a year may lose their jobs due to pregnancy or maternity.   

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “People in this country already benefit from some of the most rigorous workplace standards in the world, including parental leave and pay entitlements, but we are determined to do even more as we leave the EU. 

“It’s unacceptable that too many parents still encounter difficulties when returning to work. Today’s proposals are set to provide greater protection for new parents in the workplace, and put their minds at ease at this important time.” 

  This move goes further than current EU requirements on maternity entitlements and parental leave, showing that the UK is going even further in its commitment to workers’ rights and meeting the challenges of the changing world of work. This follows the biggest package of workplace reforms for over 20 years that was set out by the Business Secretary in December 2018. 

On parental leave and pay alone: 

  • We already offer maternity entitlements of up to 52 weeks of Maternity Leave – 39 weeks of which are paid. 
  • We have given fathers and partners a statutory right to Paternity Leave and Pay, and we have allowed eligible parents to share leave and pay where the mother does not intend to use all of her maternity entitlements 
  • And we have given all employees with 26 weeks’ qualifying service a right to request flexible working, not only those returning from parental leave 

 




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