05 June 2009
Pregnant women 'at risk of redundancy'
Expectant mothers and those with new babies are among the hardest-hit when it comes to redundancies during the recession, a coalition has asserted.
The Alliance Against Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace has suggested that some employers may be using the current economic crisis as "an excuse to break the law on discrimination", the Guardian reported.
However, the alliance noted that while the numbers of pregnant women and new mums losing their jobs may be on the rise, this may not translate to an increasing number of employment tribunal cases on this issue, as many women taking full-time care of children at home do not have the time or the money to take on a court case.
Furthermore, the group - which is comprised of a number of organisations, including Citizen's Advice, Maternity Action and the Fawcett Society - pointed out that a woman who is made redundant while pregnant or on maternity leave will feel the consequences in the long-term, as her financial security may be put in jeopardy.
In a statement released last month, the alliance stated that the average woman who returns to employment after being made redundant or facing discrimination could see her wages fall by an estimated five per cent.
Emma Hawksworth, employment lawyer at Russell Jones & Walker, commented: "In recent months we have also seen an increase in cases of pregnant women or women on maternity leave being selected for redundancy.
"It seems that some employers looking to reduce numbers are targeting pregnant women or women on maternity leave, perhaps because they are or will soon be away from work.
"This is unlawful and in fact women on maternity leave who face redundancy have extra legal protection, so it is important for women in this situation to seek expert legal advice."