A bill that will prevent women from being laid off from the time they inform their employers that they are expecting until 18 months after giving birth has passed the House of Lords' third reading and has now been given the Royal Assent.
Previously, if an employee was on maternity leave, shared parental leave, or adoption leave, an employer was required to give them a suitable replacement vacancy if one was available. These rights will be extended to expectant mothers and new parents returning to the workforce after a qualifying leave under the Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination Bill, which was sponsored by Labour MP Dan Jarvis and supported by the Government.
The bill's redundancy protection measures will take effect as soon as a woman informs her employer that she is expecting until 18 months after giving birth.
"The 18-month window ensures that a mother returning from a year of maternity leave can receive 6 months additional redundancy protection," said the press release from the Government.
"Being an expectant or new parent is already a hugely exciting yet anxious time without the added pressure of worrying whether your job is on the line," said Business Minister Dean Russell.
"By extending the UK's world-class workplace protections, today's reforms will help to remove workplace discrimination and provide improved job security for employees at such an important and precious time in their lives".
Following a consultation, it was determined that 54,000 women believe they must quit their employment each year because of prejudice related to maternity leave or pregnancy.
In the UK, 6 out of 10 women who have had abortions claim that the cost of childcare played a role in their decision. 1,630 women who had an abortion within the previous five years were questioned by the nonprofit organisation "Pregnant then screwed." Over 60% of respondents to the charity's survey claimed that the price of childcare affected their choice to get an abortion. Particularly, 17.4% of respondents cited childcare expenses as their primary justification for getting an abortion.
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