A new bill has been introduced to provide more protection for new parents returning to work after maternity/parental leave, particularly against being made redundant.

The facts

A bill, namely The Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination Bill is soon to be debated in the House of Lords.

Currently, the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999 (“Maple”) provides that an employee on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave must be offered suitable, alternative employment (where it exists) if their role is at risk of redundancy.

If no suitable, alternative employment is available, a worker could legitimately be made redundant, providing that the reason for redundancy is not related to their pregnancy and/or leave.

The new bill extends this right to pregnant women and new parents returning to work for a longer time period (all the way from when the employer is notified of the pregnancy, up until the child is 18 months old).

This offers greater job security for expectant mothers and new parents, which in turn will help businesses by improving relationships with their employees, and preventing conflict.

Advice to employers

If the bill is passed into law, the employer needs to ensure that they are up to date with the law and implement measures to prevent such issues arising whilst an employee is pregnant, or on maternity/adoption/shared parental leave, and up until the child is 18 months old. The length of protection is drastically extended and so employers will have to ensure that tailor their approach accordingly so as to ensure they don’t fall foul of what is a considerable change in the employment law landscape.

Hannah is a Paralegal who works in Attwells’ Employment Law Team. Should you have any queries in relation to any of the issues discussed in this article or indeed any other employment law issues, please do not hesitate to contact Hannah at 01206 239757 or Hannah.campbell@attwells.com. https://attwells.com/portfolio/hannah-campbell/

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