On Friday 25th January a consultation was held by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in which the government looked at extending the legal protection against redundancy so that it continues for up to 6 months after new parents and pregnant women return to work.
At present, The Equality Act 2010 states that there is a ‘protected period’ that protects pregnant women and new mothers from being discriminated against when they return to work. This period commences from the start of a woman’s pregnancy until she returns to work after maternity leave.
In 2016, the BEIS conducted research in collaboration with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). The results showed that 1 in 9 women said they were either fired, made redundant or treated badly as a way of forcing them to leave their jobs when they returned to work after having a child. Theresa May commented:
“It’s unacceptable that too many parents still encounter difficulties when returning to work. Today’s proposals are set to provide greater protection for new parents in the workplace, and put their minds at ease at this important time.”
The views on affording the same legal protections for parents that are returning from adoption leave or shared parental leave were also discussed during the consultation.