Redundancy Protection for Women on Maternity Leave – BBC Interview

David Harris discusses redundancy protection for women on maternity leave on BBC Radio Berkshire. David Harris was interviewed by Andrew Peach of BBC Radio Berkshire this morning about a proposal being discussed in the House of Commons to extend redundancy protection for women who are pregnant or returning to work, as well as those on maternity leave. You can listen to the interview here:

The Pregnancy and Maternity (Redundancy Protection) Bill 2019

The Pregnancy and Maternity (Redundancy Protection) Bill 2019 proposes that redundancy protection should start as soon as an employee informs her employer in writing that she is pregnant, and that this protection should continue not only while she is on maternity leave, but also for six months after she returns to work.

Current UK Law on Redundancy Protection

At present UK law only protects women from redundancy while they are on maternity leave. Why is this change being proposed?

Proposed Changes by Maria Miller MP and the WESC

The Bill is being proposed by Maria Miller MP, The Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee (WESC). In 2016 WESC recommended that there should be greater protection from redundancy for new and expectant mothers in its report “Pregnancy and maternity discrimination”. In this report, the WESC expressed frustration about women being managed out of their jobs after maternity leave.

Findings and Surveys Leading to the Bill

They found that 11% of women who were surveyed reported either being:

  • dismissed
  • made compulsorily redundant when others in their workplace were not
  • treated so poorly that they felt they must leave their job.

In addition to the WESC report, a 2017 Equality and Human Rights Commission survey of more than 1,000 decision-makers in business found that almost one-third of employers felt that it was acceptable to ask women about their plans to have children during the recruitment process. The 2017 Taylor Review of modern working practices also stated that legislation on pregnancy and maternity is complex and difficult for businesses to understand.

The Need for a Comprehensive Approach

Given this background, the WESC has stated that there is an urgent need to create a more comprehensive approach that covers women throughout pregnancy, maternity leave and a period of return to work.

DPH Legal’s Stance and Support

DPH Legal are employment law solicitors who have assisted women who feel that they have been unfairly treated by their employer when they have become pregnant or when they have returned to work. We welcome this change in the law which will give greater protection for women and clarity for employers.

Advice for Women Facing Discrimination

Should you feel that you have been poorly treated once you have informed your employer that you are pregnant it may be helpful to seek legal advice.

Additional Resources and References

You can find out more about WESC here: You can read more about maternity rights here: You can listen to the whole Andrew Peach show here:

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