Protecting your organisation against pregnancy and maternity discrimination
At Lawson-West we can help you and your organisation to understand the importance of pregnancy and maternity rights within the workplace.
Manager's attitudes around pregnancy and maternity discrimination
A recent poll conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Equality and Human Rights Commission has identified that British employers have worrying attitudes towards unlawful behaviour when it comes to recruiting women. The survey was commissioned to understand managers’ attitudes around pregnancy and maternity discrimination and the findings were quite shocking.
- Around a third of private sector employers agree that it is reasonable to ask women about their plans to have children in the future during recruitment.
- 44% of employers agreed that women should work for an organisation for at least a year before deciding to have children.
- Four in 10 of the respondents agreed that pregnancy in the workplace puts ‘an unnecessary cost burden’ on the workplace.
The commission is calling on employers to put a stake in the ground to eliminate these attitudes and, more importantly, pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace for good.
Ben Willmot, Head of Public Policy at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said:
‘These findings show that there are still far too many employers who don’t understand or respect employment law as it relates to pregnant women and new mothers. Discrimination not only disadvantages individuals, but also means that employers themselves are missing out on attracting and retaining female talent.’
At Lawson-West we will work closely with organisations to ensure they understand the laws and regulations they need to abide by, relating to pregnancy and maternity discrimination.
As an employer it is important that you understand what an employees’ rights are in relation to pregnancy and maternity.
Pregnancy and maternity discrimination occurs when an employer treats an individual unfairly due to being pregnant or for having just had a baby. Employees are protected against pregnancy and maternity discrimination under something called the ‘Protected Period’. This begins when the employee becomes pregnant and lasts until they return to work after maternity leave. If the employee is not entitled to maternity leave then the protection period is in place for two weeks after the baby has been born.
There are numerous rights employees have relating to pregnancy and maternity, and as an employer you must be aware of these:
- Taking time off work for antenatal care – you must give the employees a reasonable time off work to attend antenatal appointments and they are entitled to receive their normal pay during this time
- Maternity leave - this includes ordinary and additional maternity leave
- Maternity pay - this can be statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance
- Health and safety protection - you must carry out a health and safety risk assessment if one of your employees becomes pregnant.
- Pay and conditions must be maintained during the employees’ maternity leave
- The employee should return to their job after ordinary maternity leave or a similar job after additional maternity leave.
If as an employer you don’t respect an individual’s maternity rights, you are breaking the law and the employee can take legal action against you. This includes making a claim in the employment tribunal.
How Lawson-West can advise you on Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination
If you have any concerns or would like to learn more about pregnancy and maternity discrimination, contact Lawson-West's employment team today. They can provide you with all the information you require and ensure you are following best practice. Don't delay, give us a call today on 0116 212 1000 / 01858 445 480.