Consultation due to ensure new and expectant mothers have sufficient protections from redundancy

27 January 2017

The government has announced their commitment to new and expectant mothers to making sure they have sufficient protections from redundancy in the workplace.

In a response to a report by the Women and Equalities Select Committee on pregnancy and maternity discrimination, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said it will consult in due course on options to ensure new and expectant mothers in work have sufficient protections from redundancy.

Recommendations by the Committee include:

  • Ensuring that temporary and agency staff and those on zero-hours contracts, have the same pregnancy and maternity rights as employees, including the right to time off to attend ante-natal appointments
  • Implementation of a system similar to that used in Germany under which such women can be made redundant only in specified circumstances. This protection should apply throughout pregnancy and maternity leave and for six months afterwards.
  • Given the uncertainty about what a UK exit will mean, a statement of the government’s intention to ensure that those rights and protections are not eroded to provide reassurance during the period of transition.
  • Ensure that the actions taken forward to improve employer access to information include practical support aimed specifically at SMEs. Such support could include: templates and guidance to assist employers in meeting their obligations to new and expectant mothers; information about good recruitment and equality practices; and the provision of information alongside PAYE and VAT information for new traders and businesses.
  • Practical support to encourage greater compliance by employers, with particular consideration to:
    • Paying a higher rate of Small Employers’ Relief when the relevant employee is still in post 12 months after returning from maternity leave;
    • Automatic payment of Small Employers’ Relief;
    • Providing financial incentives for employers to take on part-time workers and to facilitate flexible working, and linking these to the retention of women 12 months after returning from maternity leave;
    • Requiring large companies to report on retention rates for women 12 months after returning from maternity leave and 12 months after lodging of an application for flexible working.
  • Linking any reporting on retention rates to the work to reduce the Gender Pay Gap.

Further information