The government has confirmed that it will extend legal protections against redundancy by six months for new parents returning to work.
Currently, the Equality Act 2010 sets out a “protected period” during which women who are pregnant or have recently given birth are protected from discrimination that arises as a result of the pregnancy, any illness or absence related to that pregnancy and being on, or seeking to take, maternity leave. The “protected period” currently runs from the start of a person’s pregnancy until she returns to work. In addition, under Regulation 10 of the Maternity and Parental Leave etc Regulations 1999, if, during an employee’s maternity leave a redundancy situation arises and it is not practical by reason of redundancy for the employer to continue to employ her under her existing contract, the employee is entitled to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy (where one exists).
Recent research commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy found that 1 in 9 women said that they had been dismissed or made redundant when they returned to work after having a child, or were treated so badly they felt forced out of their job.
If you do require any further advice on this issue or any other employment law concern, please contact our Rebecca Ellerbeck at Rowberrys on 01344 466353.