Expecting a baby is a time for celebration and it’s natural for parents to hope that family, friends and colleagues will share their joyful anticipation. One of the feelings a mother-to-be definitely doesn’t want to deal with, though, is an increased level of worry about the security of her job.
A report recently released by The Equality and Human Rights Commission actually contains lots of good news about progress made in recent years regarding how businesses treat pregnant employees and those on maternity leave. In fact, the majority of employers told researchers that they believed it was in the company’s best interests to support these employees and agreed that statutory rights relating to pregnancy and maternity were both reasonable and easy to implement.
A note of warning
However, some concerns were flagged relating to a significant minority of women who found that their prospects diminished – and in some cases disappeared – following the announcement of their pregnancy.
Current employment law requires that employed mothers or mothers-to-be are supported at work. Yet, despite the fact that these rights are enshrined in law, The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s research also uncovered a worrying statistic - one in nine mothers interviewed (11%) had faced dismissal, compulsory redundancy or just felt poorly treated and had to leave their job.
Reversing the trend
It’s a figure that if scaled up to a relative proportion of the working population, could mean that as many as 54,000 mothers a year are potentially treated unfairly and discriminated against, putting businesses at risk of employment tribunal action, as well as giving expectant mums something else to worry about at what can be a difficult time.
Castle Associates is hoping to help reverse the trend for discrimination in the workplace – especially where it’s the result of a lack of awareness of employment law. A free telephone helpline is now available during normal working hours, providing free advice on issues related to pregnancy and maternity. A knowledgeable operator will be able to talk through your problem, outline your rights - as an employer or employee - and offer a range of options and a practical way forward. Call 0333 772 0611, or direct on 0115 969 6016, Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.