Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination in the Workplace Continues to be a Growing Issue
Pregnancy and maternity discrimination remains a growing issue. A 2023 survey by the campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed found that over half of all mothers have faced some form of discrimination when pregnant, on maternity leave, or on their return to work.
The survey also found that almost one in five mothers had made the decision to leave their employer due to a negative experience due to their decision to have children. 1 in ten women reported bullying or harassment when pregnant or returning to the workplace. Additionally, 7% of women lost their job as a result of their pregnancy, either through redundancy, dismissal, or being forced to leave due to health and safety issues or a refusal to accept their flexible working request.
Sadly, outdated and discriminatory attitudes are all too common among business leaders. A 2021 survey found that 40% of employers claim to have seen at least one pregnant women in their workplace “take advantage” of their pregnancy, whilst around a third believed that pregnant women and new mothers in work were “generally less interested in career progression” compared to other employees.
Our campaign will challenge these biased perceptions and provide clear information outlining best practice for employers on their responsibilities around pregnancy and maternity at work. We will also help employees understand their legal rights when pregnant or on maternity leave.