Reintroduction of pregnancy protection bill in Parliament

A bill to give pregnant women and new mothers enhanced legal protections against redundancy has been reintroduced to Parliament as a result of warnings that coronavirus threatens to compound existing maternity discrimination. The Pregnancy and Maternity (Redundancy Protection) Bill aims to provide women protection from redundancy when pregnant, in the six months following their child’s birth and during maternity leave.

Government data shows that thousands of women leave their jobs when pregnant because of discriminatory experiences at work, and one in 20 are made redundant. It is felt that the current law on redundancy and maternity is complex, poorly understood and difficult to enforce.

The bill is supported by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). In July 2019, the Government has announced that pregnant workers, those on maternity leave and new parents returning to work after an extended period of family leave would benefit from enhanced redundancy protections. The change would extend redundancy protection for six months from the date of a mother’s return to work, as well as covering those taking adoption or shared parental leave.

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