More rights for pregnant workers

Thursday, June 29, 2017

According to The Women & Equalities Committee (W&EC), the Government should increase legal protection for expectant or new mothers in the workplace and follow Germany's model. 11% of women have reported being dismissed, made redundant or treated poorly and so have had to leave, prompting the Committee to lobby Government for changes.

HOWEVER, although this seems a good idea on the face of it, the backlash would far outweigh the benefits, in my opinion. This could increase discrimination at the front end, recruitment stage; employers would be much more wary to recruit someone of child bearing age if more restrictions are put on employers on how to treat them.

The Committee is asking the Government to introduce new regulations ensuring that employers may only be allowed to make women redundant, in very specific circumstances, if they are pregnant or for 6 months after the birth meaning that the majority would not be able to be considered for redundancy during this period. This will mean that employers would no longer be able to ensure fair selection for redundancy if a group of employees are exempt, thereby making it unfair on the other employees who may be in other miority groups.

IN MY OPINION, what the Committee should be pushing for, is not more regulations in these times when the country is asking for less European regulation but looking to employers to modernise their workplace practices to ensure they are offering effective support for expectant mothers or new mums. 54,000 mothers have had to leave their jobs in the last decade, according to the W&EC. Think how much that has cost the economy, employers, families etc, as well as the loss of talent, skill and experience in the job market. There has to be a better way to help new mothers stay in employment. Should that not be the focus for Government?