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Government announces extension to protection for parents returning from maternity, adoption and shared parental leave.
The Government has committed to new redundancy protections for pregnant women and new parents, which will entitle them to an additional six months of legal protection after their return to work.
The reforms also cover those taking adoption or shared parental leave.
The Government says the reforms, which form part of its Good Work Plan, will help ensure new parents are protected from redundancy related to pregnancy and parental leave for up to two years.
They are part of a raft of legislation related to parental leave and women at work that has been announced in the last hours of Theresa May’s premiership, including a consultation paper on extending parental leave for the parents of premature babies and proposals on paternity leave and new legislation on Non-Disclosure Agreements. It will be up to the new Government to enact them.
The move on pregnancy and maternity discrimination comes in response to a government consultation launched earlier this year which found that new parents continue to face unfair discrimination on their return to work.
There was criticism at the time that the Government was dragging its feet on implementing the outcome of the consultation, forcing Maria Miller, chair of the Women & Equalities Committee, to bring in a 10-Minute Rule Bill on extension of redundancy protection in May.
Announcing the new protections Kelly Tolhurst, Business Minister, said: “There is no place for discrimination against new parents in the modern workplace.
It is unacceptable that new parents continue to feel they are treated unfairly and the government is determined to put an end to this.
“The reforms announced today will better protect new parents, giving them the peace of mind to manage the return to work while also caring for a new child.”
The government has also announced that a new taskforce made up of employer and family groups will be established to 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.
It will also make recommendations on raising awareness of employer obligations and employee rights.
Research commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), found that one in nine women said they had been fired or made redundant when they returned to work after having a child or were treated so badly they felt forced out of their job.
Workingmums.co.uk welcomes the new protections for women.
It receives many questions to its legal experts from those who have faced pregnancy and maternity discrimination as well as from women who have returned to work after maternity leave and been sidelined or faced other forms of discrimination, such as changes to their working hours.