Chair’s Commons Bill pushes for new protections for pregnant women and mothers
22 May 2019
The Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Maria Miller MP, has pushed for new protections for pregnant women and mothers by introducing a *Ten minute Rule Bill in the House of Commons.
The Pregnancy and Maternity (Redundancy Protection) Bill 2019 seeks to prohibit redundancy during pregnancy and maternity leave and for six months after the end of the pregnancy or leave, except in specified circumstances, and for connected purposes.
The previous Committee published a report in August 2016 which demanded urgent action, calling for UK women to have protections similar to those in Germany after a 'shocking' increase in workplace pregnancy discrimination over the past decade.
The report requested the Government set out a detailed plan within two years or risk a further rise in pregnant women and mothers being forced out of work. Recommendations included changes to health and safety practices, preventing discriminatory redundancies and an increase in protection for casual, agency and zero-hours workers.
However, when publishing Committee’s response to the Government’s consultation on pregnancy and maternity discrimination protections earlier this month, the Chair criticised the lack of progress made, despite ministers having had so long to implement the recommendations made. (Government are still analysing the responses to this consultation).
Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Maria Miller MP, said:
“We warned almost three years ago of the significant discrimination and poor treatment faced by 54,000 pregnant women and mothers at work each year.
“Family life and the economy will both suffer unless workplace practices are brought into the 21st Century. Providing effective protection against redundancy for pregnant women would be a really good start. Whilst the recent BEIS consultation is a step in the right direction, neither new parents nor the economy can afford to wait any longer for pregnant women and new mums to be confident of proper protection from redundancy which has been in place in Germany for many years. That is why I have introduced this 10-minute Rule Bill with cross-party support.”
*Ten Minute Rule Bills are a type of Private Members' Bill that are introduced in the House of Commons under Standing Order No 23. The ten minute rule allows a backbench MP to make his or her case for a new Bill in a speech lasting up to ten minutes.