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Act now on maternity discrimination says WEC

The Women and Equalities Committee (WEC) has welcomed the proposals to give extra protection against redundancy for new mothers but called for the government to go further.

The WEC response to the government’s plans stresses that while its backs the government’s plans, more needs to be done as regards enforcing existing and new rights.

  • As regards extending protections against redundancy for six months following return to work, the WEC comments that it first made this suggestion in 2016 and calls on the government to implement this reform as soon as possible.
  • As regards information and awareness of rights for pregnant employees and new mothers, the WEC acknowledges that there are various sources of web-based information (e.g., ACAS and HSE). However, it suggests that a single website should be created for both employees and employers.
  • Repeating its 2016 recommendation, the WEC says that large companies should have to report on retention rates for women 12 months after returning from maternity leave or asking for flexible working.
  • More clarity is needed as to whether the proposed new labour market enforcement agency will be tasked with tackling maternity/pregnancy discrimination.
  • A consultation on extending the tribunal time limit for pregnancy/maternity discrimination claims should be started as soon as possible.