A campaign to stamp out maternity and pregnancy discrimination will run throughout January for both employers and employees.
Have you been threatened with redundancy or unfair dismissal or have you experienced discrimination because of being pregnant or having children? Do you have health-related worries about Covid safety at work or about the conditions you are being forced to work in?
is offering a free 30-minute telephone advice service every Tuesday and Thursday, throughout January 2022, for employers and employees concerned about the workplace rights of pregnant women and women on maternity leave.
Over two-thirds of pregnant women surveyed said they were fairly or very worried about catching Covid due to their work, and 20% of respondents said they took time off or even left their job because of concerns about being infected.
The survey found that 59% of the pregnant women surveyed had raised concerns about health and safety with their employer, but almost one in five of these said that their employer took no action to address their concerns.
, Director and Head of Employment Law, says: “ in the workplace continues to be a growing issue. During lockdown we were approached by numerous women who had been unfairly dismissed because of their pregnancy or were being unfairly selected for redundancy as they tried to return to work from maternity leave. It is even more important that we continue to educate and support employers while advising employees of their employment law rights, so that we stamp out pregnancy and maternity discrimination once and for all.”
Fiona adds: “The two most common scenarios are when a woman tells her employer she is pregnant and the employer wrongly believes that they can dismiss as she does not have two years’ service. The other is where women who are due to return from maternity leave belatedly find out that their job has ‘disappeared’ and they are being made redundant. We help women raise grievances and negotiate compensation through , to avoid lengthy, stressful and expensive Employment Tribunal claims.”
Fiona says: “We need to cultivate a healthy workplace culture in the UK where taking time off to have children is not seen as a lack of commitment and pregnant working women’s’ health is protected. Our campaign aims to highlight this type of gender inequality in our workplaces, and offer practical best practice advice to employers to help make workplaces discrimination-free.”
To support their campaign, Martin Searle Solicitors have produced a series of factsheets, case studies and FAQs for and covering basic pregnancy and maternity rights in the workplace, returning to work after maternity, as well as avoiding pregnancy and maternity discrimination in redundancy processes.
They will also be running a free virtual workshop for employee advisors and Trade Union representatives on ‘Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination – A Guide for Advisers’ on Thursday 27 January 2022 from 1- 2pm. To book, .
For confidential advice, employers, workers and employees can call Martin Searle Solicitors’ free pregnancy and maternity legal helpline on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout January from 3.30pm to 5.30pm on 01273 609911, or email .
*workingmums.co.uk also has a panel of employment law experts who will advise on your employment rights. Email [email protected] with your query which they will answer. We will also publish an edited version of the Q & A taking out any identifying information so that it can help other parents in similar situations.