Bill tabled to extend maternity discrimination legislation

A 10-minute Rule Bill on extending maternity protection on return from work will be tabled today.

 

The Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Maria Miller MP, is to push for new protections for pregnant women and mothers by introducing a 10-minute Rule Bill in the House of Commons.

The Pregnancy and Maternity (Redundancy Protection) Bill 2019 seeks to prohibit redundancy during pregnancy and maternity leave and for six months after the end of the pregnancy or leave, except in specified circumstances, and for connected purposes. Women who experience a stillbirth or miscarriage will similarly be protected for up to six months from the end of their pregnancy or any leave they are entitled to.

The Committee published a report in August 2016 calling for UK women to have protections similar to those in Germany after a ‘shocking’ increase in workplace pregnancy discrimination over the past decade. The report requested the Government set out a detailed plan within two years or risk a further rise in pregnant women and mothers being forced out of work. Recommendations included changes to health and safety practices, preventing discriminatory redundancies and an increase in protection for casual, agency and zero-hours workers.

When publishing the Committee’s submission to the Government’s consultation on pregnancy and maternity discrimination protections earlier this month, Miller criticised the lack of progress made, despite ministers having had so long to implement the recommendations made.

Miller said: “We warned almost three years ago of the significant discrimination and poor treatment faced by 54,000 pregnant women and mothers at work each year.  

“Family life and the economy will both suffer unless workplace practices are brought into the 21st Century. Providing effective protection against redundancy for pregnant women would be a really good start. Whilst the recent BEIS consultation is a step in the right direction, neither new parents nor the economy can afford to wait any longer for pregnant women and new mums to be confident of proper protection from redundancy which has been in place in Germany for many years. That is why I have introduced this 10-minute Rule Bill with cross-party support.” 

The bill’s second reading takes place on Wednesday.



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