Should Redundancy Protection for Women and New Parents be Extended?

On 24th January 2019, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) released an open consultation on extending the redundancy protection period for women and new parents.

BEIS has proposed extending the protection period against redundancy for six months after they return to work, undertaking the review as a result of research which was conducted in 2016 by BEIS and the Equality and Human Rights Commission which concluded that discrimination is still far too prevalent. The study suggested 54,000 women lose their jobs due to pregnancy or maternity every year.

Joeli Brearley was dismissed the day after she told her employer she was pregnant. As a result, in 2015 she founded ‘Pregnant Then Screwed’, a website which raises awareness to tackle motherhood discrimination and promote the overall rights of women. Due to popular demand, Pregnant Then Screwed now also exists in the US, Sweden and Spain. Ms Brearley and her volunteers disagree with the consultation and claim the above-mentioned research shows that around one in 20 mothers are made redundant at some point during their pregnancy and that “the problem isn’t the law – the law is very clear, it is illegal to make someone redundant due to pregnancy or maternity”. Ms Brearley believes the Government should consider other approaches, such as offering access to justice via a free legal advice service for pregnant women and men becoming parents.

The consultation also questions whether being made redundant by reason of pregnancy/maternity should be defined as starting at the point a woman informs her employer that she is pregnant in writing.

If you wish to participate and provide comments in the consultation it remains open until 11:45 on 5th April 2019.

You can view the consultation on the link below.

You can also visit Pregnant Then Screwed website via the link below.

If you have any questions relating to pregnancy and/or maternity discrimination in the workplace, or indeed any other employment law issue, please feel free to contact me on 01206 238761 or alternatively by email