Maternity Action is going to launch a report on unfair redundancies amongst pregnant women and new mothers, in a bid to help claim legal protection, and as a reaction to the Government’s failure to act on its previous commitments.
Rosalind Bragg, Director of Maternity Action has 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’, adding ‘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’. The charity would like 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’.
She makes the point that due to physical and mental exhaustion brought on by new motherhood, few women would be geared up to take legal action on discrimination ‘even when they have a very strong case’.
The Charity has said that ministers had committed to a review of redundancy protections for pregnant women and new mothers in January but there has been no consultation on the issue, and no glimmers of progress thus far.
The report (due to be launched in Parliament on Tuesday) quoted a study from 2016 by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which found that 11% of mothers had lost their job as a result of maternity discrimination each year – a percentage which equates to a startling 54,000 women.