Maternity Action is launching a report on unfair redundancies amongst pregnant women and new mothers calling for a radical rethink of legal protections for women.
The campaign follows Government’s failure to act on its commitment to review redundancy protections, made in response to the Women and Equalities Select Committee inquiry into pregnancy and maternity-related discrimination. The launch is a Parliamentary event involving MPs from all major parties.
Rosalind Bragg, Director of Maternity Action said:
“One in every twenty new mothers in the workplace will be made redundant during pregnancy, maternity leave or the months after returning to work. Some of these redundancies are discriminatory, many are completely unfair.
“The current legal framework is not protecting women from unfair treatment. Women are being forced out of their jobs by redundancies which are not genuine and by discriminatory selection processes. Women who have challenged bad practice by their employers are at particular risk.
“We are calling for the UK to adopt the German model of redundancy protection for new mothers. Women should not be made redundant, except in limited circumstances, from notification of their pregnancy through to six months after return to work.
“Pregnancy and new motherhood places significant demands on women’s physical and mental health, their time and financial resources. Few women take legal action on discrimination, even when they have a very strong case.
“On our advice line, we regularly speak to women who are facing unfair redundancy. At a time when they should be enjoying their new baby, these women are dealing with stressful negotiation processes and are seriously worried about their finances.