Following my previous update earlier this year about the government’s proposal to extend the current redundancy protection for pregnant employees, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced that the protection will now be extended.
The current position is that pregnant employees are protected against redundancy during their pregnancy and maternity leave but the new reforms mean that the protection will be extended for a period of up to 6 months after they return to work. This enhanced protection will also apply to employees taking adoption or shared parental leave.
The consultation which ran for 10 weeks and closed on 5th April 2019, concluded that there was still a need to address discrimination in the workplace as Kelly Tolhurst, business minister said “There is no place for discrimination against new parents in the modern workplace. It is unacceptable that new parents continue to feel they are treated unfairly and the government is determined to put an end to this”.
It has not yet been confirmed when this will come into force but it demonstrates the government’s commitment to workers rights in a changing workplace as part of the Good Work Plan that go far beyond the current requirements under EU legislation. However, what remains to be seen is exactly how this will work in practice and how employers will manage redundancies going forward, something that unfortunately with the threat of a no deal Brexit on the horizon and a recession looming, may have a greater impact sooner than expected.
If you have any questions about redundancy, the rights of pregnant employees and those on maternity leave, please contact Julie Edmonds, Head of Employment, by email firstname.lastname@example.org by telephone on 0207 644 7286 or contact her on LinkedIn.