It’s 2015, and women who take maternity leave are still being discriminated against – this is wrong on every level and must stop. Some recent high profile cases have made the headlines recently plus Michael Lewin Solicitors have successfully won claims for many new mums over recent years.
Maternity campaign group, Maternity Action, believes that as many as 60,000 women annually lose their jobs because of pregnancy and maternity leave, despite the numerous efforts that have been put in legislation over the years to protect their employment status.
Like Maternity Action, we believe that employers see pregnant employees and new mums as soft targets, and as many women potentially opt to keep quiet or not cause a fuss with their employers, it could mean that this 60,000 figure may actually be much higher.
Crystal Bolton, an Employment Law specialist at Michael Lewin Solicitors and regular contributor to both Working Mums and Bump & Me (two sites offering advice to mothers) commented, “We have seen a huge increase in the number of pregnant women actively looking at redundancy options with their employers because they are pregnant which is unlawful, it’s obviously concerning to us and maternity action groups that employers are finding this a very easy route to targeting women on maternity leave.”
Crystal continued “All employers need to be aware that employees that are pregnant, or on maternity leave, have specific protection from dismissal in law, and as we have recently seen, selection for redundancy based on pregnancy is automatic grounds for unfair dismissal and could also attract a sex discrimination claim which can bring significant compensation for the claimant, but also significant costs to the employer.”
“Employees on maternity leave also may be interested in what is happening back at work and should be kept in the loop regarding any developments, promotions or opportunities within their department during their leave; also in redundancy situations they also have the right to be offered a role that is a suitable alternative for them.”
All of the legal provisions we now have in law are there to protect women and to ensure that they are not placed at a disadvantage because of their pregnancy. Ultimately, working mums are a valuable asset to any business and it’s still shocking that they need to be made aware of that fact in 2015!