Maternity Rights In The Workplace

Each year maternity discrimination costs women £112 million in lost wages and maternity pay.

Pregnancy and maternity discrimination impacts many women’s lives; a survey carried out by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in June 2017 found that 77% of mothers had a negative and possibly discriminatory experience in the workplace during pregnancy, maternity leave or after their return from maternity leave.

Pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace is prohibited in specific circumstances. It is unlawful to:

    • discriminate by treating a woman unfavourably during the protected period (from the beginning of pregnancy to the end of maternity leave) because of her pregnancy or because of an illness she has suffered as a result of her pregnancy; or
  • discriminate by treating a woman unfavourably because she is on compulsory maternity leave or because she is exercising or seeking to exercise, or has exercised or sought to exercise, the right to ordinary or additional maternity leave.

Acas has created a helpful guide on maternity discrimination. Examples of unfair or unfavourable treatment include:

  • not getting a promotion because you are pregnant
  • not having training opportunities because you are pregnant
  • reduction of pay or hours because you are pregnant
  • pressure to return to work before the end of your maternity entitlement

Employers must also ensure that women on maternity leave are informed of any jobs that become available, including opportunities for promotion and transfer, and must enable them to apply.

MAMA Academy has teamed up with Thrive Law to put together these handy guides for both employees and employers:

Employees Guide to Maternity Rights

Employers Guide to Maternity Rights