• Maternity Discrimination

    05 June 2019

    Dear Constituent,

    Thank you for contacting me about maternity discrimination, and in particular, the risk of redundancy for new mothers.

    All work should be fair and decent: pregnancy and maternity discrimination is unlawful and has no place in modern society. It is shocking that some employers still behave in this way and I am assured that Ministers are committed to tackling this problem.

    As you mentioned, current protections mean that before making an employee on maternity leave redundant, employers must offer them a suitable alternative vacancy, where one is available. This gives the woman priority over other employees who are also at risk of redundancy, challenging the default of automatically offering redundancy to the women on maternity leave first.

    Following a review of this policy, the Government recently consulted on extending the existing protection into the six months following the new mother’s return. Rather than making it automatically unlawful for a new mother to be made redundant, this special protection would place the new mother in a preferential position compared to colleagues, giving her first refusal on any suitable alternative vacancy. I understand that the Government is currently analysing the feedback to the consultation and I look forward to hearing the outcome in due course. 

    I also understand that Ministers intend to bring forward proposals on creating a new, single labour market enforcement agency to better ensure that vulnerable workers are more aware of and can exercise their rights, and that businesses are better supported to comply with the law. Together with the proposed change to redundancy protection, I hope this will help tackle discrimination and change the negative culture that can exist around new mothers in the workplace.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely,

    Mel Stride MP

    MP for Central Devon

    Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons