Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst recently (22nd July) announced that pregnant women and new mothers could now receive up to 2 years legal protection against redundancy. This is further to an extension of an additional 6 months after their return to work.
Research shows that every year 54,000 women feel they had to leave jobs due to pregnancy or maternity discrimination. The move to extend the redundancy protection came after a government consultation that looked at this research.
Discrimination of all kinds is illegal. This is also the case for pregnancy and maternity discrimination. These reforms to the redundancy protections will also cover those adopting a child or shared parental leave, as well as pregnant women and new parents. The hope is that the new redundancy protection extension will help ensure that all new parents are protected from discrimination, regardless of gender and circumstance.
A further announcement confirmed that a new taskforce made up of employer and family groups has been established. This taskforce will 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. In addition to this the taskforce will make recommendations on raising awareness of employer obligations and employee rights.
Jane Van Zyl, the CEO of Working Families said that they hear from women struggling with pregnancy and maternity discrimination every single day. Jane feels that these reforms are a step forward in protecting the jobs of new mothers and parents returning to work. She feels the government are sending a strong message to rogue employers that discriminating against new parents is unacceptable.
Here at Aspire Cambridge we feel that the more workplaces in the UK that embrace flexible working and gender equality, the easier it will be for parents to return to work and progress in their careers after parental leave.
If you need help managing parents returning to work or implementing parental leave policies in your business, give us a call on 01223 855440. We would be happy to help ensure that your recruitment and HR meets all the latest legislations and regulations.