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Overdue: a plan of action to tackle pregnancy discrimination now

MaternityAction : December 9, 2013 12:01 am : News, Uncategorized

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In 2005, three years before the global financial crisis of late 2008 and subsequent recession, a landmark study by the Equal Opportunities Commission found that half of all pregnant women suffered a related disadvantage at work, and that each year 30,000 were forced out of their job.

Eight years on, all the available evidence suggests that such pregnancy and maternity discrimination is now more common than ever before, and that as many as 60,000 women are pushed out of work each year.

This report examines the extent of pregnancy and maternity discrimination, assesses the Government’s statements and actions on the issue since 2010, and sets out a plan of action to tackle such discrimination now.

Tell Your Story – When I Had My Baby

Maternity Action are fighting to end pregnancy discrimination. The ‘When I Had My Baby’ campaign aims to shed light on women’s experiences, raise public awareness and campaign for change.

If you’re a mum or a dad and have experienced bad treatment at work because you were pregnant or on maternity/paternity leave we want to hear from you.


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Shared Parental Leave announcement – A modest step in the right direction, but ‘right to return’ arrangements are unfair

MaternityAction : November 29, 2013 2:25 pm : News


Rosalind Bragg, Director of Maternity Action, welcomed the Government’s announcement on shared parental leave, and said:

“The shared parental leave reforms are a useful but very modest step in the right direction.

“The ‘right to return’ arrangements are complex, unfair and will confuse both parents and their employers.

“It is not right that a woman who takes a week of shared parental leave to settle her daughter into childcare can find that her job has altered during her absence.

“Women calling our advice line regularly report that their job has been altered to their disadvantage while they are on leave. Women are demoted and sidelined. They face changes to their hours and location of work which force them to resign as they cannot balance childcare with the new work arrangements

“If the Government wants parents to make use of the new flexible leave, they must introduce fair and simple arrangements which protect parents’ jobs when they are at home caring for their new baby.

“Effective shared parental leave arrangements are essential to address gender equality in the workplace and in caring for children. More could have been done to promote take-up by fathers and it is unfortunate that the Government missed this opportunity.


For more information, contact Rosalind Bragg on 07913381208.


Maternity Action is the UK’s leading charity committed to ending inequality and improving the health and well-being of pregnant women, partners and young children – from conception through to the child’s early years.
Maternity Action provides free online information and telephone advice on maternity rights at work and maternity benefits which is available to all pregnant women, new mothers and their families.
In 2012, Maternity Action answered over 2 200 advice calls from women facing difficulties at work and parents downloaded 397 000 information sheets. We receive 15 times more calls than we can answer and we receive no Government funding for our advice service.
Maternity Action leads the Valuing Maternity campaign to defend maternity rights and protect maternity services. This is supported by 20 national charities, unions and health organisations.

Note on the ‘right to return’: Currently, the right to return to the same job applies to maternity and additional paternity leave of 26 weeks or less. When parents take a longer period of leave in a single block, their employer can assign them to another job or make changes to their job. The Shared Parental Leave announcement proposes that the right to return to the same job is restricted to 26 weeks of maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave in aggregate. Where a parent takes any further leave, even a short period such as a week of leave, their employer can assign them to another job or make changes to their job.


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Government £1m programme to tackle preg discrimination must not weaken rights, says Maternity Action

MaternityAction : November 4, 2013 12:01 am : News



Rosalind Bragg, Director of Maternity Action comments on the Governments expected announcement on a £1 million programme to tackle pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. Maria Miller’s announcement will take place on Monday. Rosalind Bragg said:

“We are delighted at this announcement of research into pregnancy discrimination at work.

“It is important that the Government does not weaken the law on pregnancy discrimination but instead focuses on employer compliance. The principles of non-discrimination were established decades ago and should be accepted as an essential part of the business environment.

“Since the economic downturn began, pregnant women and new mothers have faced an increasingly difficult time in the workplace.  Unfair and unlawful treatment of new mothers is widespread and action is urgently needed.“While we welcome the plans for research, the Government could very easily intervene now to better protect women’s rights.    They could immediately remove the new £1200 fee to take a pregnancy discrimination case to the employment tribunal, reinstate the questionnaire procedure and fund the specialist advice services which women desperately need.

“We are still waiting for a public statement from the Government on the importance of effective protection of the rights of pregnant women at work.  These rights enable women to remain in the workforce during their childbearing years which is essential in supporting families and provides long term economic benefits for the country.

“Cuts to advice services leave women without the specialist support they need to exercise their rights.  Maternity Action answers 2200 calls each year from women experiencing difficulties in the workplace.  We receive 15 calls for every call we answer and do not have funds to expand our service to meet this demand.  We receive no Government funding for this work.

“Pregnancy discrimination imposes major costs on new families at a time when they are least able to handle additional financial stress.  Research undertaken in 2005 found that women who experience pregnancy discrimination miss out on more than 12 million in maternity pay alone.”


Note to Editors

1. Rosalind Bragg is available for further comment and interview  07913381208

2. Maternity Action is a national charity providing advice and information to pregnant women, new mothers and their families on maternity rights and benefits. Maternity Action helps 33 000 parents each month through our web-based information and telephone advice service.



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Children and Family Bill – Shared Parental Leave and related provisions

MaternityAction : November 1, 2013 11:21 pm : News

Maternity Action prepared a Parliamentary briefing on the Shared Parental Leave and related provisions of the Children and Family Bill, and another on on the right to breastfeed on return to work.  Maternity Action also produced a two-page summary version.

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Maternity Action submission to the inquiry into Women in the Workplace – Dec 2012

MaternityAction : November 1, 2013 11:18 pm : News

Maternity Action made a submission to the UK Parliamentary inquiry into Women in the Workplace and called for an investigation into pregnancy discrimination to document the nature and incidence of discrimination following the economic downturn.

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Autumn statement – cumulative impact on cuts on new mothers

MaternityAction : November 1, 2013 11:15 pm : News

In the 2012 Autumn Statement, the Government announced that Statutory Maternity Pay and Maternity Allowance would be indexed below inflation.  This briefing examines the cumulative impact of cuts and restrictions on maternity benefits and payments over recent years.

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In sickness and in health and safety risk assessments

MaternityAction : November 1, 2013 11:09 pm : News

Maternity Action has produced a briefing on sickness and health risks at work during pregnancy based on data from the telephone advice service.

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Guidance for commissioning health services for vulnerable migrant women

MaternityAction : November 1, 2013 11:05 pm : News

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Greater expectations – final report of the EOC’s investigation into discrimination against new and expectant mothers in the workplace

MaternityAction : November 1, 2013 11:03 pm : News

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Pregnancy discrimination at work: a survey of women

MaternityAction : November 1, 2013 11:00 pm : News

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