Additional Protection for Mothers
A study from 2015 showed that 1 in every 20 mothers are made redundant at some point in or around their pregnancy. This situation is expected to get worse with the economic uncertainty introduced by COVID-19. Currently, lots of pregnant or recent mothers have been forced to work outside of their skill sets or take lower paid jobs in order to stay financially stable for their new child. Many that are not fortunate to have remote or flexible working have also taken furlough and risk potential part-time reduce hours or face confrontation about how they can return to work.
The current legislation surrounding maternity in this respect is nearly 20 years old and is in clear need of reform to bring this into the modern day world. A bill has been re-introduced to parliament, with the aim to look at this issue and see what ways it can better protect pregnant women and new mothers from losing their jobs.
Under the new proposals, it will be unlawful for a woman to be made redundant during her pregnancy and for 6 months after she returns to work. Exceptions will be made if the business is closing. This position is expected to be fairer, simpler and cleaner than the current one, but businesses struggling post-pandemic will need to consider its policies and structure carefully. If the redundancy was to be legitimate, but can no longer occur, the employer will need to consider carefully its options. There will be concerns about positive discrimination and non-family members losing their job instead so employers need to consider transparent policies and processes to protect itself and its staff. Maintaining this transparency should highlight compliance , equality and fairness to encourage staff to commit to its employer.
Although the proposal for this bill is a positive step, to up date the laws, the fact that it is a ‘private members bill’ and that it is the second time it has been introduced to parliament, means that its prospects for success are uncertain at this time. Here at A City Law Firm we are huge advocates for the protection of families, and we will keep you abreast of this bill as we follow its journey. We are also mindful to give employers notice to consider its structure early to embrace any positive changes made.
Please reach out to us for any family, employment law related advice. We’d be delighted to advise and assist.