Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination Rises During The Last 12 Months
An increasing number of new mothers and pregnant women are being treated unfairly at work this includes cuts in hours, being placed on zero-hour contracts or even being forced out of their jobs.
Citizens Advice has issued a warning of a developing problem that new and expectant mothers are facing discrimination. Citizens Advice has stated there has been a 25% increase in people needing workplace advice on pregnancy and maternity issues in the past 12 months.
Evidence from Citizen’s Advice reveals pregnant women and new mums have had their working hours cut, been put on zero hour contracts, pressured to return to work early from maternity leave and, in some serious cases, have been forced out of their jobs.
Two women turned to their local Citizens Advice when they suffered discrimination in the work place. One woman said her employer cut her weekly hours by more than half after she told them she was expecting. Her boss claimed there was not enough work available to keep her on her previous hours, even though new staff had been hired at the same time. The second woman hadn’t received any maternity pay. When she contacted her employer she was told they had ended her contract while she was on maternity leave.
Research released from Equality and Human Rights Commission has revealed that 77% of mothers reported a less than positive or even discriminative experience at work during their pregnancy, maternity leave or return to work.
Citizens Advice stated that it is against the law for organisations to discriminate against their employees by refusing to uphold their maternity rights at work, and encouraged people to seek help if they think they’re being treated unfairly by their employer.
Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:
“Pregnant women should be supported at work, not made to fear for their livelihood. It is concerning that more and more new and expectant mums are experiencing discrimination issues at work.
“People with a baby on the way will have a lot on their minds already. The last thing they need is a threat to their income or job security. All employers should respect and uphold the rights of staff who are new parents or expecting a baby.”