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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Maternity Rights

An independent Task Force has been set up to help retain top talent within the communications industry and narrow the ever increasing gender diversity gap among senior women returning from maternity leave.

This is in direct response to a national survey conducted by Hanson Search and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), which revealed a record 13.4% of senior employees think employers are out of touch with working mums. These employees plan to quit the industry in the next two years if employers continue to deny flexible provisions for those wishing to return from maternity leave, and maintain negative attitudes.

The survey, which interviewed 550 women and men working within communications, revealed:

  • 9.4% of employers felt they had serious reservations about hiring women aged between 30-40 years old fearing they would, at some point, fall pregnant,
  • 62% of employees feel that they will be discriminated against if they were to become pregnant, and
  • 49.3% of respondents have observed issues or problems among colleagues directly related to their return from maternity leave, such as difficulty with flexible working hours (64.6%), reduction in perceived status (59.9%) and negotiating part-time employment (53.2%).

Around 80% of interviewees believe that flexible working is beneficial to both the employer and employee in terms of time management and time efficiency, with 83.8% suggesting it would be good practice for organisations to implement such strategies.

In advance of announcements on legislative change to maternity and paternity leave, a new study for Working Families and Netmums has found overwhelming opposition to plans to reduce maternity leave to 18 weeks.

The Government has proposed in its Modern Workplaces consultation that maternity leave be reduced to 18 weeks, and the remaining leave currently available to women becomes “flexible parental leave” available to either parent.

Netmums surveyed 1,500 mothers and found that:

  • Around 60% said they would find it hard to ask their employers for additional maternity leave after 18 weeks, with 24% of these saying their employer would have made it clear that they wanted them back at that time.
  • Around 17% said they would be keen to take advantage of the provision allowing their partners to take “shared leave”. However, 28% said their partner might want to but it wouldn’t happen in practice; while a further 41% said the family could not afford for the father to take the time off.

Netmums founder Sally Russell said: ”Women are very strongly saying that 18 weeks of maternity leave is not enough. It is possible to have a system that works for mums and dads but this isn’t it.

”The findings show that an 18 week limit may well push women out of employment and the result will be the opposite of what the Government are trying to achieve”

Working Families also asked eleven leading employers what they thought of the 18 week maternity leave proposal. Nine of the eleven said they’d prefer a default of 26 weeks’ maternity leave to the 18 week proposal. Employers concerns included likely higher absenteeism among women returning before they were ready, costs of rearranging leave cover if plans change, and the importance of retaining women’s workplace talent.

A recent report from work-life charity Working Families has revealed that many parents are facing impossible choices and discrimination at work.

The report, which was based on calls to the charity's free legal advice line, found that employers are less willing to consider a variety of working patterns, and are imposing changes which undermine parents’ ability to combine work and childcare.

The report also revealed that 8% of calls in 2011 concerned pregnancy and maternity discrimination, including callers dismissed when they told their employer they were pregnant, demoted on their return to work, and unfairly selected for redundancy.

Other callers reported that they could not afford to return to work after childbirth, because of high childcare and travel costs, while parents of disabled children could not find any affordable, appropriate childcare.

Call for Evidence on dismissal

Posted by on in Dismissal

Proposals to examine the current dismissal process have been announced by the Government with the publication of a Call for Evidence.

Through the Call for Evidence, the Government is seeking to establish a strong evidence base on the current understanding of the dismissal process, including awareness, understanding and use of the Acas Code of Practice on Discipline and Grievance. The Government will be seeking the views of employees, business organisations and all other interested parties.

The Government has also published the Employment Law Review annual update in the Houses of Parliament, outlining how the review has been taken forward. The report summarises the current programme and looks ahead to further areas it is considering as part of the Review.

In addition, it was also announced that the Employer’s Charter, first published in January 2011, has been updated to include pointers on sickness absence and recruitment. The Charter aims to counter the misconception that employment protections are all one-way - towards the employee. It will give greater clarity to managers on what they can already do to deal with issues in the workplaces, on subjects such as performance, sick leave, maternity leave, requests for flexible working and redundancy.

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