MP says better redundancy protection needed for new mums

MP Maria Miller calls for ban on redundancy for expectant and new mums, and women returning to work after maternity leave for up to six months.

Six month's grace

A new bill has been introduced which calls for better protection for new mums against redundancy.

The Pregnancy and Maternity (Redundancy Protection) Bill 2019 was introduced by Conservative MP Maria Miller, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee.

The bill, which has cross-party support, aims to stop expectant and new mums from losing their jobs from the moment they notify their employer that they are pregnant until six months after returning to work.

Prohibit redundancies

A 2016 study by the Business Department identified that 54,000 women may lose their jobs due to pregnancy or maternity every year.

Under current laws, employers must find a “suitable” alternative vacancy for women on maternity leave before they can make them redundant.

Even though the government has proposed extending this rule to cover the six-month period after returning to work, Ms Miller asserts that this is often “ignored or circumvented by employers”.

Banning redundancies altogether for six months after leave, rather than just offering an alternative role, would “take the onus off women”, she says.

She states in the bill that: “Maternity leave is a time for bonding with a new baby, for recovering from the physical and mental strain of the pregnancy and birth, and for learning to handle the significant challenges of parenthood.

“It is no time to be going for a job interview for a new post, nor to be distracted by the stress of a redundancy process.”

More information on your rights

Click here to find out more about pregnancy and maternity leave discrimination, what the law states and what your rights are.