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29th January, 2019
The Government has published a consultation paper which will look at extending the legal protection against redundancy for pregnant women and new parents once they have returned to work. The consultation forms part of the government’s response to the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices and comes further to similar issues being raised in the Women and Equalities Select Committee 2016 report.
Currently, the Maternity and Parental Leave etc. Regulations 1999 provide that, if a woman on maternity leave is selected for redundancy, she must be given first refusal on any offer of suitable alternative employment over the other redundant employees.
The government will be consulting on proposals to extend this right to women who have returned from maternity leave in the previous six months, not just those who are currently on maternity leave. The government are also seeking views on whether this protection should be extended to parents returning from adoption leave or shared parental leave and also to women who have told their employer that they are pregnant.
The consultation closes on 5 April 2019.
Gurdeep Boparai comments:
'This is an interesting proposal that could see the UK going further than the current EU requirements on maternity entitlements and parental leave. Should these proposals be implemented, employers will need to be mindful of the increased protection afforded to pregnant women and new parents when conducting redundancy exercises. They should also update relevant workplace policies to account for the change in the law.'
If you would like any further advice please get in touch with a member of the team.