Pregnant women and expectant mums are to get extra protections from redundancy, the government has announced.
In response to a report released by the Women and Equalities Select Committee, the government has revealed that it is committed to make sure new and expectant mothers have sufficient protections from redundancy in the workplace.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said it will consult in due course on the options for pregnant women and new mums.
Business Minister, Margot James said, “We are determined to tackle pregnancy and maternity discrimination and a key part of that is making sure new and expectant mothers are supported and treated fairly by their employers.”
“While most businesses abide by the law, some do not.”
“There should be zero tolerance of discrimination against pregnant women, or women who have just given birth, that’s why today we are committing to making sure new and expectant mothers have sufficient protections from redundancy.”
“I’d like to thank the Women and Equalities Select Committee for shining a light on this issue which is a key priority of mine.”
The news comes after the Women and Equalities Select Committee called for German-style protections for pregnant women, after its report found ‘shocking’ workplace discrimination.
Recent statistics revealed that 54,000 expectant or new mothers were forced to leave their jobs due to discrimination; while it costs women £1,200 to take their employer to an employment tribunal in a pregnancy related case. The committee also called for the government to ensure pregnancy related rights remained in place following the Brexit decision.
Commenting on the decision, the Women and Equalities Committee chairwoman, Maria Miller said the announcement was a “missed opportunity for the Government to demonstrate the urgency and bite on this issue that we found lacking when we published our report in August.”
However, the committee also said that the response had a “disheartening lack of detail or new ideas.”
Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary, was also disappointed in the news. She said, “We are pleased the Government has finally published its plans for tackling pregnancy discrimination.”
“However, ministers are still not confronting the elephant in the room – the impact of employment tribunal fees.”
“Bad bosses will continue to get away with discriminating against new mums as long as it costs up to £1,200 to take a pregnancy discrimination claim.”
“It’s also very disappointing that the Government has not extended the time women have to bring a claim.”
“My advice to women is to join a union.”
“As the Equality and Human Rights Commission highlighted, pregnant women and new mums are treated better in workplaces that recognise trade unions.”