Citizens Advice has reported an increase of almost 60% in the number of women turning to them for face to face advice on pregnancy and maternity issues, including discrimination. Between May 2015 and June 2016, 3,300 people approached them with such issues compared to 2,099 in the same period the previous year. They also report seeing a 100% increase in visits to the pregnancy discrimination sections of their website in the last year.
They believe that there are a number of reasons for this, including the introduction of Employment Tribunal fees and the increasing use of zero hours contracts.
Amongst the issues the women sought advice for was being made redundant upon their return from maternity leave, having a new role imposed on them or inadequate health and safety protection.
The Citizens Advice findings support the report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission into maternity discrimination published last year. That study estimated that around 54,000 new mothers are losing their jobs across Britain every year, almost double the amount when the survey was conducted in 2005. It also found that at least 10% of women are discouraged by their employer from attending antenatal appointments, putting the health of both mother and baby at risk.
For more information and to find out how we can help you, please contact a member of Nockolds’ Employment Team on 01279 755777.