MPs call for better job protection for working mothers

The Women and Equalities Committee has warned that ‘urgent action’ is needed to protect expectant mothers at work from discrimination.

The news comes as official data shows the number of expectant new mother forced to leave their jobs has almost doubled to 54,000 since 2005. The Committee recommended adopting a German style system where measures are in place to make it difficult for employers to dismiss women during and after pregnancy.

Currently it is illegal in the UK to dismiss a woman for reasons relating to having a child.

The report advised that the government should issue more protection for casual, agency and zero-hours workers - to make it easier for women to attend antenatal appointments.

Maria Miller, the committee's chairwoman, said: “There are now record numbers of women in work in the UK. The economy will suffer unless employers modernise their workplace practices to ensure effective support and protection for expectant and new mums.”

Margot James, Business Minister, said: "It is completely unacceptable that pregnant women and new mothers are apparently being forced to quit their jobs because of outdated attitudes.
"Tackling this issue is a key priority of mine and this government and I would like to thank the committee for its important work. We will consider its recommendations carefully and respond in due course."