A report conducted by The Commons Women and Equalities Committee has uncovered an increase in discrimination against pregnant women and new mothers. It has found that over 54,000 women were forced to leave employment due to pregnancy discrimination or because of concerns about the safety of their children.
This figure is double what it was a decade ago, highlighting concerns that not enough is being done to target pregnancy discrimination.
Cuts to Employment Tribunal Fees
The report also drew attention to Employment Tribunal fees and called for them to be drastically cut to enable individuals, including new mothers, to have better accessibility to bring a discrimination case against a former or current employer.
The fee to bring a discrimination claim in the Employment Tribunal is currently £250 to issue the claim and a further £950 to be paid before a final hearing. The figures gathered by the report, outline that 1 in 10 women and new mothers either left their employment due to pressure and poor treatment, were singled out for redundancy or were dismissed.
Suggestions on Preventing Pregnancy Discrimination from the Committee
As a response to the findings, the committee has suggested that a system similar to that in Germany should be introduced. A German style system would result in employers being banned from making new mothers redundant unless exceptional circumstances are present, such as there was an act of gross negligence by the employee or the company was in extreme financial difficulty.
The committee raised concerns that if there is no action plan to combat such discrimination, the economy could suffer considerably given that record numbers of women are in employment. Amongst other recommendations, the following was also suggested in the committee report:
- Increasing the time limit to bring a pregnancy discrimination claim in the Employment Tribunal from three to six months.
- Allowing casual, agency and zero-hour workers to have paid time off for antenatal appointments. This currently does not apply to such workers.
- Changes to employment laws to ensure employers have to comply with Government incentives to reduce pregnancy discrimination.
Professional Legal Support for Pregnancy Discrimination at Work
Our experts at Bhayani HR & Employment Law specialise in discrimination claims and are on hand to answer your questions and provide guidance on your claim.
If you have been affected by anything mentioned in this article, or would like more information regarding pregnancy discrimination concerning your own situation, contact us on 0114 303 2300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.