Tuesday 4 April 2017

This week, we’ll be looking at maternity discrimination.

 

Joeli Brearly is the founder of Pregnant Then Screwed, and she has helped to put together this week’s programme.

 

Joeli set up Pregnant Then Screwed, after experiencing maternity discrimination herself, and has campaigned tirelessly on this issue.

 

In 2015, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) produced a report, entitled Pregnancy and Maternity-Related Discrimination and Disadvantage. The report showed that 54,000 women lose their jobs in the UK each year, as a result of maternity discrimination – and that figure had doubled from 2005.

 

The EHRC, in conjunction with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, conducted a survey of 3,200 women, also in 2015. Its findings were shocking:

 

  • 10% of women were discouraged by their employers from attending antenatal appointments – putting themselves and their babies at risk
  • 10% of women were treated worse by their employer after their return from maternity leave
  • 1 in 5 new mothers – as many as 100,000 women a year – experienced harassment or negative comments at work when pregnant or returning from maternity leave
  • 7% of women said they were put under pressure to hand in their notice
  • 1 in twenty women reported receiving a cut in pay or bonus after returning to work from maternity leave

 

This is a huge issue. We will be hearing from 2 women who have experienced maternity discrimination first hand. What options were available to them? We will hear how one woman took her employer to an employment tribunal.

 

Unfortunately, many women are prevented from taking their employer to a tribunal. The cost just to lodge the claim is £1,200, which is prohibitively expensive in many cases – not to mention the cost to the health of a new mother.

 

We will be discussing current employment laws, and how these serve women in the workplace. After Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union was triggered earlier this week, we will be asking: how will Brexit affect the rights women do have at work?

 

There will be advice on hand from Sybille Raphael, Head of Legal Advice Services at the Charity Working Families. How can you negotiate flexible working hours with your boss, if you’re returning from maternity leave. We will also be discussing the value of flexible working hours – for everyone – to businesses and the economy in general.

 

The charity has a flexible working film on its website, which gives information about about your right to request flexible working.

 

Speaking of flexible working, we will be speaking to Anna Whitehouse, AKA Mother Pukka. Her website, “for people who happen to be parents” is a brilliant read, even if you’re not a parent. It’s full of thoughtful and insightful discussions, as well as hilarious anecdotes. More seriously, Anna is spearheading a #FlexAppeal campaign, calling for flexible working hours. You may have seen her flash mob heading to Trafalgar Square over the weekend to publicise the campaign. We’ll be talking #FlexAppeal with Anna on the show.

 

If you’re looking for further resources, we have devoted a page to maternity discrimination and flexible working hours, which you can find here.

 

 

 

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