The government has responded to calls for better pregnancy and maternity protection

The government has published its response to the Women and Equalities Committee’s report which called for better pregnancy and maternity protection.  This report demonstrated that the number of expectant and new mothers forced to leave their jobs had almost doubled since 2005.  The Equalities and Human Rights Commission reported last year that 6% of women are made redundant and 11% feel forced to leave their jobs on return from maternity leave.

The report made 21 recommendations, the majority of which were rejected.  However, the government has given a commitment to consider whether women’s rights need to be strengthened in relation to pregnancy, maternity and redundancy.

Therefore, whilst no changes are anticipated yet, changes may be made in respect of strengthening returning mothers rights in respect of protection from redundancy. This is an area to be alive to, especially when you are considering making an employee redundant whilst on maternity leave, or upon her return.