Employment: Pregnant Women and New Parents To Get Enhanced Redundancy Protections

Written by Hayley Titchner

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has announced that pregnant women and new parents are to receive enhanced redundancy protection.  The response follows a Government consultation whereby it found that new parents continue to face unfair discrimination.

Under the new proposals pregnant women and new mothers could receive up to 2 years of legal protection against redundancy, with new protections being extended for an additional 6 months after their return to work.

The Government has committed to:

  • Ensure the redundancy protection period applies from the point the employee informs the employer that she is pregnant, whether orally or in writing;
  • Extend the redundancy protection period by 6 months once a new mother has returned to work. So, if a mother was to take her full entitlement to maternity leave, this could amount to 18 months protection and even longer if you add to that the period of pregnancy.
  • Extend redundancy protection into a period of return to work for those taking adoption and shared parental leave; and
  • Establish a taskforce of employer and family representative groups. The taskforce will make recommendations on what improvements can be made to the information available to employers and families on pregnancy and maternity discrimination. It will also develop an action plan on what steps government and other organisations can take to make it easier for pregnant women and new mothers to stay in work

What does this mean?

Under the Maternity and Parental Leave etc. Regulations 1999, women on maternity leave currently have special protection in a redundancy situation. Employers have an obligation to offer those employees a suitable alternative vacancy where one is available.

The Government’s current proposals significantly enhances the current protection afforded for women. It will be vital for all employers to ensure they are fully aware of the changes and implications when the legislation comes into force.

For further advice in respect of employment matters please contact Invicta Law’s Dispute Resolution and Employment team on 03000 411100 or email Justine.Soutter@invicta.law, or download the team leaflet.

Contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute professional or legal advice.  Invicta Law cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

 

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