Over 50,000 Mums Being Forced Out Of Their Jobs

Irwin Mitchell Comments On EHRC Survey Findings


David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

Research published today by the Equality and Human Rights Commission highlighting that over 50,000 new mums may be forced out of their job each year shows how many businesses struggle to deal with the complex issues around pregnancy and maternity – says a leading employment lawyer.

The joint research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission findings in partnership with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills  found that 11% of the women interviewed reported having been dismissed, made compulsorily redundant where others in their workplace were not, or treated so poorly they felt they had to leave their jobs.

It said that if this figure was replicated across the population as a whole, this could mean as many as 54,000 women losing their jobs each year.

Described as the largest survey of its kind, the research found around 20% of new mothers experienced harassment or negative comments from their colleagues, employer or manager when pregnant or returning from maternity leave.
Key findings amongst key decision makers in industry included that 84% of employers believe that supporting pregnant workers and those on maternity leave is in the interests of their organisations.

Around 8 out of ten bosses agreed that pregnant women and those returning from maternity leave are just as committed to their work as their colleagues. The majority also said that they didn’t think pregnancy puts an unreasonable cost burden on the workplace.

Despite this 10% of new mums said they were discouraged by their employer from attending antenatal appointments with a similar proportion (9%) saying that they were treated worse by their employer on their return to work than they were before pregnancy.

Also, it found that when mothers were allowed to work flexibly, around half reported negative consequences such as receiving fewer opportunities at work or feeling that their opinion was less valued.

Caroline Waters, Deputy Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “This research reveals the worrying levels of discrimination and disadvantage at work that women still face today. Not only is discrimination unlawful, but it is also bad for business. That’s why today we’re launching a major initiative to bring this issue into the public eye, improve awareness of the law and work with business and other groups to find workable solutions.”