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Blog  »  August 2014  »  Women facing 'maternity discrimination' in the workplace - Blog
27
Aug 14

Posted by
Victoria Clarke

Women facing 'maternity discrimination' in the workplace

A £1m research project to help understand the extent of pregnancy discrimination in the workplace and how best to tackle it was recently commissioned by the Government and is to be undertaken by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

This comes as a recent survey of 500 managers by law firm Slater & Gordon revealed that more than 40% admitted they are generally wary of hiring a woman of childbearing age, while a similar number would be wary of hiring a woman who has already had a child or hiring a mother for a senior role.

A further survey of women in the UK earning £7.44 an hour or less has found that ten per cent of mothers who returned to work in the last five years came back to a more junior role. Among those returning to a lesser job, a third did so because their role had been given to someone else against their wishes and for one in ten it was because their role had been made redundant. Half said they came back to a more junior job because their previous role was either not available part-time or the hours were not suitable.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills said: “Pregnancy discrimination is unacceptable; there is no excuse for it. Mothers coming back to work after maternity leave have the legal right to return to the same or similar job. That’s why the Government has taken steps to make sure workplaces are fair and reflect modern society - giving all employees the right to request flexible working as well as introducing Tax Free Childcare and shared parental leave from 2015.”

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady also added: "It is illegal to not give someone a job on the grounds that they may have children in the future. Employers that do this are not only breaking the law but being incredibly stupid as they are missing out on many of the country's brightest young workers."

By having contracts of employment and an employee handbook in place, female employees can be given peace of mind and have clarity on what their maternity leave entitlements and rights are. Our Bright Contracts handbook template comes complete with a dedicated policy on Maternity Leave which complies with current statutory requirements.

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Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment

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