Labour Market

New employment protections for pregnancy risk unintended consequenes


In the Media

Matthew Lesh writes in City AM

In the Media

Annabel Denham writes in CapX

IEA Director of Communications Annabel Denham wrote in CapX on proposals for more stringent workplace protections for pregnant women.

Annabel wrote:

“A few years ago, the Equality and Human Rights Commission conducted interviews with 3,254 mothers. It found that around one in nine reported they were either dismissed, made compulsorily redundant (where others in their workplace were not) or treated so poorly they felt they had to leave their job. ‘If scaled up,’ the study claimed, ‘this could mean as many as 54,000 mothers a year’.

“But this is fantasy. For a start, the Maternity and Paternity Leave regulations already stipulate that an employer should not make a woman on maternity leave or a parent on shared parental or adoption leave redundant. They are obliged to offer them a suitable alternative vacancy where one exists, if their job is at risk. And women also have some protection under the Equality Act, which states that an employer cannot discriminate against someone because they are pregnant or on maternity leave. Then there are employment laws which protect people from being dismissed from their job unfairly.”

Annabel also argued that new protections could bring unintended consequences:

“As with so many regulations, the benefits and beneficiaries are obvious. But the downsides – in terms of fewer opportunities for women in their twenties to forties, or lower wages as employers pass on any additional costs – are largely hidden.

“And does anyone believe that vested interests will look at the expansion of these laws and put their feet up, satisfied their work is done? Already, Pregnant then Screwed are already warning that even if they are not made redundant, many women are put in an untenable position because their employer refuses to grant them part-time or flexible working arrangements. Talk about a slippery slope.”

The full article can be read here.