Women face pregnancy discrimination at work

Written By: James Douglas
Published: November 18, 2017 Last modified: November 18, 2017

The charity Maternity Action has exposed the harsh impact of unfair redundancies on pregnant women and new mothers.

One in every 20 mothers are made redundant during pregnancy, mat­ernity leave or return to work, often in clear cases of discrimination.

The charity examined the experiences of the women who call the charity’s advice line, seeking help with problems at work and found that many redundancies are not genuine, merely labelled “redundancy” in an attempt to avoid discrimination claims.

Pregnant women have been forced to take part in stressful selection pro­cesses that result in shock redundancies. Even women on maternity leave, who have additional protections, were losing their jobs.

Maternity Action has called on the government to urgently act on its commitment to review redundancy protection, which it made in January of this year, but has yet to act on.

The charity recommended that the UK adopt the German model of redundancy protection. Under this approach, women must not be made redundant from notification of pregnancy through to six months after return from work, with some limited exceptions.