More new and expectant mums turning to Citizens Advice Westminster for help with maternity rights at work
New figures from the local charity reveal a 100 per cent rise in people seeking advice on pregnancy and maternity discrimination over the past two years.
Between April 2015 and March 2016, 33 people turned to Citizens Advice Westminster for help with pregnancy and maternity discrimination, up from 16 in the previous 12 months. This year alone, the local office has helped 10 expectant mothers being treated unfairly at work.
Pregnancy and maternity discrimination is when you’re treated unfairly because you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or because you’ve recently had a child.
The findings are released as national Citizens Advice publishes analysis revealing the top maternity rights problems faced by pregnant women and new mums. The most frequent issue faced was redundancy or dismissal.
There has also been a 100% increase in visits to the pregnancy discrimination advice pages on the national charity’s website in the last 12 months.
The local charity has reported cases where pregnant employees have found themselves singled out for redundancy, in some cases instead of another colleague who is not pregnant. One woman came to Citizens Advice after being made redundant soon after telling her manager about her pregnancy, while her colleague was kept on. The employee was given no explanation as to why she was losing her job.
Other top maternity rights issues reported by the national charity are health and safety assessments being inadequate or not completed; working hours being cut; and problems when returning from maternity leave.
Citizens Advice Westminster is highlighting that it is against the law for bosses to discriminate against their employees by refusing to give them their maternity rights at work.
An employer can’t dismiss an employee, cut their hours, or stop an employee returning to work after taking maternity leave. When you come back to work you are entitled to return to the same job within the first six months of maternity leave or to an equivalent role if you return within six to twelve months.
“All employers should respect and uphold the rights of their staff.
“It is deeply concerning that we have seen this rise in maternity discrimination cases. The last thing you need to worry about as an expectant parent is a drop in income or losing your job.
“As an employee you cannot be made redundant or have your hours reduced because you are pregnant. Your employer must carry out a health and safety assessment and, if you return to work within a year, you are entitled to return to the same job or an equivalent role.”
If you have concerns about pregnancy or maternity discrimination you can get free, impartial advice by calling Citizens Advice Westminster on 08444 771 611 or email our Research and Campaigns firstname.lastname@example.org
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