Warning Over Maternity Leave Plan Maternity leave 18.08.2008 Companies could be required to keep jobs open for women on maternity leave for a year under proposals being considered by the Government. The plans will be welcomed by prospective mothers, but have prompted warnings from industry leaders that it will put increased pressure on businesses already suffering from the economic downturn.New mothers are currently entitled to twelve months' maternity leave, but after six months employers can offer a suitable alternative vacancy rather than the mother's existing job where offering the same job back is not practicable by reason of redundancy. The proposals drawn up by Labour party policy-makers at the National Policy Forum would extend that protection to 12 months.The proposals follow union demands that women should not be deterred from returning to work, and are said to be backed by Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman.A Government insider told the Daily Mail: "This is one element in discussions on how we make sure maternity leave is not detrimental to women returning to work."The Government has already agreed to extend the period of paid maternity leave to a year from 2010. The first six months would have to be taken by the mother, but the second six months could be transferred to the child's father.James Wright from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "Maternity rights have been increasing since 1999 and the current proposed changes have been around since before the credit crunch. Mothers returning from maternity leave have always received enhanced protection from redundancy under the law. Employers should take advice before dismissing maternity returners by reason of redundancy." Press contact James Clarke Press Officer +44 (0)161 838 3169 Email James Related articles 19.06.2018The New Tax Evasion Facilitation Offence 19.06.2018Legal Challenge To Inadequate Care ‘A Wake-Up Call To The NHS’ 18.06.2018Family Of Former College Cleaner Appealing To Ex-Colleagues For Help Following Cancer Death 18.06.2018Family Law Team Ranked Number One 18.06.2018London Drives UK Tourism But Other Regions Attracting Attention 18.06.2018Omnichannel And Experiential 'Key To Retail's Future Success'