UK Government must take action on maternity discrimination

Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley has called on the UK Government to take “immediate action” over maternity discrimination as the number of women facing workplace discrimination due to pregnancy or flexible working hours has doubled over the last decade to a record 54,000.

The local MP has called on the UK Government to follow the Scottish Government’s lead on tackling maternity discrimination, following the publication of the Women and Equalities Committee’s report Pregnancy Workplace Discrimination today.

The Scottish Government will abolish Employment Tribunal fees when powers over these hearings are transferred to Scotland and has introduced a number of measures to ensure fairer workplaces for women including a new working group to create guidelines for employers to ensure best practice on recruitment, retention and development of pregnant workers.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s #PowertotheBump campaign found that the majority of employers felt that supporting pregnant employees was in the interests of their organisation.

Angela Crawley MP, SNP spokesperson for Women, Children and Equalities, said:

“Motherhood does not detract from an employee’s productivity or work value but shockingly, the number of pregnant women facing workplace discrimination has doubled in the last ten years to 54,000 cases a year.  The UK Government must take immediate action to tackle this record high.

“The level of female employment is higher than ever before so it is vital that employers are supported to ensure that the rights of women and new mothers not to be discriminated against are protected or our economy will suffer.

“And with the uncertainty over what Brexit will mean, it is vital that the Tories act now to reassure workers everywhere that their rights and protections will not be eroded.

“Fundamental to breaking down gender barriers is ensuring that if someone is discriminated against, they have access to justice.  And that’s why the SNP Government has pledged to abolish fees for Employment Tribunals when the power over these is transferred to Scotland which will allow all employees a fair opportunity to have their case heard.”

“The UK Government should learn from the Scottish Government’s actions and finally show the leadership on this issue that women across the UK have a right to expect – gender inequality costs everyone in society and we must work together to end gender based discrimination.”