54,000 new mothers lose their jobs because of pregnancy

Back in December on this blog, we highlighted a TUC survey describing how having a baby could seriously affect your career. And how, despite legal protection from discrimination at work, 6 out of 10 women still felt sidelined after announcing their pregnancy to colleagues, while 4 out of 10 managers thought twice about hiring women of childbearing age. 

Sadly, a new report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, reveals that the scale of pregnancy discrimination is even greater than we thought.

EHRC has found that 54,000 new working mothers – that’s 1 in every 9 – lose their jobs every year as a result of their pregnancy. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady blames a persisting culture of workplace bullying about which employers are still in denial. She also calls it ‘a wake-up call to ministers’, who have made it more expensive and stressful for pregnant women and new mothers to challenge discrimination in employment tribunals.  

Abolishing tribunal fees is the first of our five recommendations to bring this issue under control and make sure that the important progress of the last 40 years to strengthen maternity rights in law is fully reflected, once and for all, in today’s workplaces.

If you are interested in learning more about this issue, see our Maternity Leave rights section and read our special report: The Pregnancy Test – Ending Discrimination at Work for New Mothers (PDF, 825KB).