We are Launching our Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination Campaign ‘Mind the Bump 2021’.
In March 2021, we are launching our 16th annual campaign to stamp out pregnancy and maternity discrimination at work. Pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace was problematic prior to Lockdown 1. Unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic appears to have exacerbated this worrying trend.
A TUC study carried out in June 2020 found that 1 in 4 pregnant women and new mothers had experienced unfair treatment or discrimination in work since the pandemic began. In addition a PwC study from May 2020 found that 78% of those who had already lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic were women.
This year International Women’s Day falls on 8 March 2021 with the focus on #ChooseToChallenge. Access to justice through legal advice and representation is important and we will be offering a free 30-minute telephone advice line for employers and employees concerned about the workplace rights of pregnant women and women on maternity leave.
Fiona Martin, Director and Head of our Employment Law, says: “Pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace continues to be a growing issue. During the first 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 after their maternity leave. It is even more important that we continue to educate and support employers while advising employees of their rights, to shift cultural attitudes at work and stamp out pregnancy and maternity discrimination once and for all.”
Fiona continues: “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 concerns women who are due to return from maternity leave and belatedly find out that their job has ‘disappeared’. We help women raise grievances and negotiate compensation through Settlement Agreements, to avoid lengthy, stressful and expensive 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. #ChooseToChallenge is an important step in highlighting this type of gender inequality in our workplaces.”
To support our campaign, we have produced a series of factsheets, case studies and FAQs for employers and employees covering basic pregnancy and maternity rights in the workplace, returning to work after maternity, as well as avoiding pregnancy discrimination in a redundancy process.
On Thursday 18 March, from 1pm – 2.30pm, we will be running a free virtual seminar on ‘Pregnancy and Maternity Leave – Best Practice for Employers’. To book, click here.
For confidential advice, employers and employees can call our free pregnancy and maternity legal helpline on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout March from 3.30pm to 5.30pm on 01273 609911, or email email@example.com.