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TEAM News

Government Publish Consultation Paper on Extending Redundancy Protection for Women and New Parents

On Friday 25 January 2019 the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (“BEIS”) published a consultation paper proposing to extend redundancy protection to new mums, pregnant employees and to other groups including those returning from adoption or shared parental leave.

This latest Government offering comes in response to a suggestion outlined in The Taylor Review of modern working practices (July 2017) and in part, from issues raised by the Women and Equalities Select Committee (“WESC”). In 2016, BEIS revealed that 1 in 9 women said they had been fired or made redundant upon returning to work after having a child or were treated so poorly they left their employment.

The consultation paper seeks to extend Regulation 10 of the Maternity and Parental Leave Etc Regulations (1999). Regulation 10 provides that in a redundancy situation employers have an obligation to prioritise employees on maternity leave and offer them suitable alternative employment.

In a bid to tackle workplace discrimination, the consultation paper outlines proposals to extend this right to both employees who have recently returned from maternity leave within the last six months and to employees who have told their employer they are pregnant. The consultation paper also calls for the extension of this right to other groups including those returning from adoption or shared parental leave.

This latest move goes further than current EU requirements on maternity entitlements and parental leave. The Prime Minister, Theresa May, comments:

“it’s unacceptable that too many parents still encounter difficulties when returning to work. Today’s proposals are set to provide greater protection for new parents in the workplace, and put their minds at ease at this important time.”

If you would like to read the consultation paper then visit the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/pregnancy-and-maternity-discrimination-extending-redundancy-protection-for-women-and-new-parents. The consultation ends Friday 5 April 2019.  

This bulletin is for general guidance purposes only and should not be used for any other purpose.

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