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Redundancy protections for new mothers receive Government backing

The Government has backed a new law that would protect a woman from redundancy from the point at which she tells her employer she is pregnant up until 18 months after she gives birth.

Under current legislation, employers have an obligation to offer an employee who is on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave a suitable alternative vacancy where one exists if they are making redundancies. Under the new Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination Bill, introduced by Labour MP Dan Jarvis and supported by the Government, these protections will expand to pregnant women as well as new parents returning to work from a relevant form of leave.

The protections against redundancy under the Bill will apply from the point at which a woman tells her employer she is pregnant until 18 months after birth. According to a Government press release: “The 18-month window ensures that a mother returning from a year of maternity leave can receive 6 months additional redundancy protection”.

New mothers will be protected against redundancy

Business Minister Dean Russell said: “Being an expectant or new parent is already a hugely exciting yet anxious time without the added pressure of worrying whether your job is on the line”.

“By extending the UK’s world class workplace protections, today’s reforms will help to remove workplace discrimination and provide improved job security for employees at such an important and precious time in their lives”.

60% said that the cost of childcare influenced their decision to have an abortion

The MP for Barnsley Central who introduced the Bill, Dan Jarvis, said: “I am delighted that my Private Members’ Bill, the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill has passed its second reading in Parliament and is now a step closer to becoming law”.

“At the heart of this Bill are tens of thousands of women pushed out of the workforce each year simply for being pregnant. I’m proud this new legislation will go some way to providing pregnant women and new mums greater protections in the workplace. I want to thank all those who’ve supported the Bill and I look forward to working with them to ensure it passes into law”.

The Bill, and Government support for it, follow a consultation that estimated 54,000 women a year feel they have to leave their jobs due to maternity or pregnancy discrimination.

Six in ten women surveyed who have had an abortion in the UK say that the cost of childcare influenced their decision. The charity ‘Pregnant then screwed’, surveyed 1,630 women who had had an abortion in the last five years. According to the charity, over 60% said that the cost of childcare influenced their decision to have an abortion. In particular, 17.4% said that the cost of childcare was their main reason for having an abortion.

Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said: “Negative workplace attitudes towards pregnancy and motherhood can cause women to feel pressure to have an abortion. No woman should have to face such pressure”.

“This is a positive piece of legislation that could help reduce pressure on working women to have abortions”.

Dear reader,

You may be surprised to learn that our 24-week abortion time limit is out of line with the majority of European Union countries, where the most common time limit for abortion on demand or on broad social grounds is 12 weeks gestation.

The latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine enables doctors to intervene to save premature babies from 22 weeks. The latest research indicates that a significant number of babies born at 22 weeks gestation can survive outside the womb, and this number increases with proactive perinatal care.

This leaves a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive at 23 weeks whilst, in another room of that same hospital, a doctor could perform an abortion that would end the life of a baby at the same age.

The majority of the British population support reducing the time limit. Polling has shown that 70% of British women favour a reduction in the time limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks or below.

Please click the button below to sign the petition to the Prime Minister, asking him to do everything in his power to reduce the abortion time limit.