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Labour has pledged to push the Government on pregnancy and maternity rights and to review Shared Parental Leave.
Labour has committed to make it illegal to make a new mother redundant from notification of pregnancy until six months after their return to work, except in specific of circumstances such as closure of business or mass redundancy.
The pledge came on the 51st anniversary of The Equal Pay Act. The party has also committed to call on the Government to publish the number of jobs created by Kickstart, Restart and Jets by sex, ethnicity and disability, to immediately reinstate gender pay gap reporting, introduce ethnicity pay gap reporting and, modernise equal pay laws to give women the right to know what their male counterpart earns and to urgently review Shared Parental Leave.
Marsha de Cordova, the Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities said: “On the anniversary of Labour’s Equal Pay Act, we are calling for action to stop a two-tier recovery from the pandemic.
“Labour want to see data on the number of jobs created, the impact of the pandemic on the gender and ethnicity pay gaps and, an urgent review of the failing Shared Parental Leave system.
“Making it illegal to make a new mother redundant during pregnancy and maternity leave, except in very specific circumstances, is a simple robust way to end discrimination.”
The extension of pregnancy and maternity protections was to be part of the Employment Bill, which was not mentioned in the recent Queen’s Speech. Several organisations, including Maternity Action, say the delay in moving forward on the Employment Bill should be used as an opportunity for a full-scale reform of Shared Parental Leave, which has had a consistently low take-up.
Meanwhile, shadow business secretary Ed Miliband calls in his forthcoming book, Go Big, for fathers to be offered “use it or lose it” paternity leave of at least three months in order to boost gender equality at home and at work.