Pregnant women and mothers returning to work could receive greater protection from redundancy following a report highlighting ‘appalling’ levels of discrimination at work.
The study, from the Commons Women and Equalities Committee, found that over one in 10 new mothers are made redundant, dismissed, or treated so badly upon their return to work they feel they have to quit.
Following a review from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, ministers have suggested implementing a similar system to Germany within the next two years. This would give redundancy protection to women through their pregnancy, maternity leave and first six months back in work.
Margot James, Business minister, said: “We are determined to tackle pregnancy and maternity discrimination and a key part of that is making sure new and expectant mothers are supported and treated fairly by their employers.”
However, the UK Government has not extended the employment tribunal time limit as recommended by the women and equalities committee.
Currently, any claim for pregnancy or maternity discrimination must be brought in an Employment Tribunal within three months less one day of the treatment you are complaining about.
The proposal to reduce the Employment Tribunal fee has also been dismissed.
Claire Dawson, employment lawyer at Slater and Gordon, said: “It is widely recognised that the introduction of Employment Tribunal fees has acted as a significant barrier to justice.
“A Trade Union Congress report found that since fees were introduced in 2013, there has been a 79 per cent decrease in the number of claims taken to Employment Tribunals.
“Many employees decide they cannot afford to take their claim to the Employment Tribunal, especially those who earn less.”