Pregnant women and new parents are set to receive extended legal protection against being made redundant after they return to work.
The move is part of the government’s ‘Good Work Plan’. It follows a consultation which found that new parents continue to face discrimination. The research suggests that up to 54,000 women a year felt they had to leave their jobs due to pregnancy or maternity discrimination.
Women on maternity leave currently have 18 months’ special protection in a redundancy situation. The reforms will extend this by six months, bringing the total to two years from the date they return to work.
The rights will also extend to mothers or fathers returning from adoption or shared parental leave.
A government spokeswoman said: “There is no place for discrimination against new parents in the modern workplace. It is unacceptable that new parents continue to feel they are treated unfairly, and the government is determined to put an end to this.
“The reforms will better protect new parents, giving them the peace of mind to manage the return to work while also caring for a new child.”
Research commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy found that 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 government has also announced that a new taskforce made up of employer and family groups will be established to develop an action plan on what further steps government and other organisations can take to make it easier for pregnant women and new mothers to stay in work. It will also make recommendations on raising awareness of employer obligations and employee rights.
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