Maternity Action calls for stronger protection for pregnant women and new mothers, including making employers publish their maternity retention rates and protecting pregnant women and mothers from redundancy until up to six months after their baby is born.
The next Government should seek to improve employment rights for pregnant women and new mothers by introducing a legal ban on employers making a woman redundant throughout her pregnancy and up to six months after her return from maternity leave in most circumstances, according to the organisation Maternity Action.
It says current legislation is not strong enough in terms both of the protection it offers and because it only protects women from the point at which they tell their employer they are pregnant. It says that only in limited circumstances such as when a business has closed or there is genuinely no suitable alternative employment should redundancy be an option.
Maternity Action is also calling for a change to Universal Credit regulations so that Maternity Allowance is treated as earnings, like SMP, rather than income. Currently Maternity Allowance is taken into account in full for Universal Credit. If, for example, you are a lone parent with one child and no housing costs, the amount you receive from Maternity Allowance may be higher than your maximum Universal Credit. This means that you would not be entitled to any Universal Credit.
Other recommendations include introducing a review of health and safety legislation and guidance to ensure employers assess and swiftly address risks to individual women, ensuring access to maternity care for vulnerable migrant women living in the UK by suspending NHS charging for maternity care and
encouraging employers to tackle pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace by legislating to add reporting of retention rates for women returning from maternity leave to the existing ‘gender pay gap’ reporting regime.