5 April 2019 ~ Plans to boost protections for pregnant women and new parents returning to work – Government Consultation – Closing date

Date and time: 

Friday, April 5, 2019 - 12:00

Pregnant women and new parents returning to work after having children are to be further protected from unfairly losing their jobs under new proposals set out by the government.

  • Pregnant women and new parents returning to work are set to receive greater protection from redundancy, under new government plans
  • The legal protections currently enjoyed by parents including women on maternity leave could be extended to other parents, such as those returning from adoption or shared parental leave
  • This boost in protection builds on the biggest package of workplace reforms in 20 years to create an economy that works for all as part of the modern Industrial Strategy

The consultation proposes that the legal protection against redundancy for pregnant women and new mothers on maternity leave is extended so that it continues for up to 6 months after they return to work. It will also seek views on affording the same protection to parents returning from adoption leave or shared parental leave.

Research commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), found 1 in 9 women said they had been fired or made redundant when they returned to work after having a child, or were treated so badly they felt forced out of their job. The same research estimates 54,000 women a year may lose their jobs due to pregnancy or maternity.

This move goes further than current EU requirements on maternity entitlements and parental leave, showing that the UK is going even further in its commitment to workers’ rights and meeting the challenges of the changing world of work. This follows the biggest package of workplace reforms for over 20 years that was set out by the Business Secretary in December 2018.

On parental leave and pay alone:

  • we already offer maternity entitlements of up to 52 weeks of maternity leave – 39 weeks of which are paid
  • we have given fathers and partners a statutory right to paternity leave and pay, and we have allowed eligible parents to share leave and pay where the mother does not intend to use all of her maternity entitlements
  • and we have given all employees with 26 weeks’ qualifying service a right to request flexible working, not only those returning from parental leave

The consultation is available on GOV.UK, ending on 5 April 2019.