New Rights for Pregnant Workers and New Parents

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2024 National Women's Conference
10 October 2023
Carried as Amended

Conference notes and welcomes the new protection from redundancy for pregnant workers and new parents.

Conference thanks Dan Jarvis MP for working in support with UNISON on the new law – the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill – to prevent employers from laying off expectant mothers and new parents, by extending redundancy protections to six months, passed its third reading in February 2023.

As the cost of living continues raising a family is becoming even more expensive, and what new parents need most is job security, but pregnant workers and new parents are too often first in line for redundancy.

According to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) three in four working mothers say they’ve experienced pregnancy and maternity discrimination, and 54,000 pregnant women are forced out of their jobs each year.

The law already gives women on maternity leave priority over other employees at risk of redundancy – a woman on maternity leave is “entitled to be offered” any suitable alternative vacancy, where one is available, as soon as her job is at risk of redundancy. But in practice, this is often not happening.

Conference future notes that many maternity protections including protections against discrimination for pregnant women and women on maternity leave, and the right to suitable alternative work on no less favourable terms are under attack through the Retained EU Law Bill.

Without these core protections, UK workers – especially women – will be thrown back to the 1970s, which means the bill is even more urgent. This new law will represent a significant win for UNISON members as well as add greater workplace protections to the statute book.

Conference calls on the NWC to

• Work with UNISON and continue the work with Dan Jarvis MP to ensure the Bill is passed in the House of Lords.

• Encourage other UNISON MP’s to support the Bill.