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Research commissioned in 2016 by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy(BEIS) in collaboration with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found that 1 in 9 women had been fired or made redundant when they returned to work after having a child, or felt forced out of employment.
The Equality Act 2010 provides a protected period within which pregnant women or women that have recently given birth are explicitly protected from discrimination. The current protected period runs from the outset of the pregnancy until the end of the maternity leave when the woman returns to work, or two weeks after the birth in the event the woman is not entitled to maternity leave. There are currently no such protections for adopting parents or those taking shared parental leave.
Regulation 10 of the Maternity and Parental Leave etc Regulations 1999 (MAPLE) provides that, before making an employee on maternity leave redundant, employers must offer them a suitable alternative position. This protection applies while the woman is on ordinary or additional maternity leave.
The Government launched a consultation on 25 January 2019 in order to consider extending the protection period for pregnant women against redundancy under Regulation 10 MAPLE by up to 6 months after returning to work. The consultation will also consider whether similar protection should be provided to those on adoption leave or on shared parental leave. The consultation will close on 5 April 2019.
Contact our Employment team if you would like to discuss the the effect these changes will have on you and your business, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01484 821 500 to speak to a member of our team.