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Redundancy protections for new mothers to become law

A bill that will 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, has passed its third reading in the House of Lords and has now received Royal Assent.

Under previous legislation, employers had 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 “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”.

The bill followed 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”.

“We welcome the introduction of this important piece of legislation and thank all the MPs and Peers who have worked to get this bill all the way through both the Commons and Lords”. 

“This is a very positive change to legislation that could help reduce pressure on women to have abortions and save the lives of many unborn children”.

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