New guidance has been published to help eradicate the problem of pregnancy and maternity discrimination.
Employers who do not follow the new guidance by treating women fairly could potentially face an employment tribunal.
According to conciliation service Acas, 14,000 people rang the service in 2016 for help – an increase of nearly 10 per cent compared to 2015.
The new guidance will ensure women are aware of promotion opportunities whilst they are on maternity leave.
It also insists that employers do not include pregnancy-related absences on an employee’s record.
Acas employment expert David Webb commented: “It’s all really about trying to change the employer’s mindset and get them to understand what they have to do to comply with the law and treat their employees in a fair way.”
Sky News reports that Joeli Brealy was fired over voicemail after telling her bosses she was pregnant.
“I felt like my career was completely over,” she says.
Brearly started an online campaign group, Pregnant Then Screwed to help other women who have experienced similar treatment.
Since it’s launch, over 1,000 women have shared their stories. She said:
“Women who experience pregnancy and maternity discrimination don’t feel comfortable talking publicly,”
“Some say they sign a confidentiality agreement which means they are gagged, they are unable to talk about this legally.
“For many others it means that they will jeopardise their careers, so who wants to hire a troublemaker?”
Director of Maternity Action Rosemary Bragg said the answer lies with Parliament.
“In January of this year the Government gave a commitment to review protection of unfair redundancy for new mothers,” she says.
“We’re still waiting for that review to happen and it is urgently needed. One in every 20 new mothers is made redundant.
We need to do more to make sure women can retain their jobs when they have a baby.”