The government has recently consulted on the extension of redundancy protection for pregnant women and new parents on their return to the workplace following the birth or adoption of a child.
Following the consultation, the government has committed to:
- Ensuring the redundancy protection period applies from the point the employee informs the employer she is pregnant, whether that be in writing or orally;
- Extending the redundancy protection period for six months once a new mother has returned to work;
- Extending redundancy protection for a period for those taking adoption leave;
- Extending redundancy protection for those taking shared parental leave. The period of protection should be proportionate to the amount of leave and the threat of discrimination; and
- Establishing a taskforce to make recommendations on what improvements can be made to information made available to employers and families on pregnancy and maternity discrimination.
The government has also committed to consulting on potential changes to Employment Tribunal time limits for claims relating to pregnancy and maternity discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
Although the government has made a clear commitment to extending redundancy protection for women and new parents, it could be some time before we see legislation implementing these changes.
The government may well choose to wait until the completion of their current consultation on sexual harassment and instead put together a wider package of reforms.