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The cost of pregnancy and maternity discrimination

A report published last month by the Equality and Human Rights Commission states that British businesses are losing nearly £280 million each year as a result of women being forced out of their jobs due to pregnancy and maternity discrimination. The report stated that main losses were due to recruitment, training costs, and lost productivity.

The research also specified that the cost to British women forced to leave their job could be as much as £113 million per year. This includes those who felt so poorly treated they had to leave and those who were dismissed or made compulsorily redundant. In addition the findings showed that women were most likely to be financially affected when they were required to leave their job at an early stage of pregnancy, due to loss of earnings.

The research also stated that women who remain in their jobs still report a financial loss due to pregnancy discrimination of up to £34 million in total over the following year. This includes failing to gain a promotion, salary reductions, demotion and receiving a lower pay rise/bonus than they would otherwise have secured.

These findings follow recent research published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the government that showed over three quarters of pregnant women and new mothers (77%) experience negative and potentially discriminatory treatment at work each year. A total of 11% of these are forced out of their jobs. In contrast, less than 1% of women reported lodging a complaint at an employment tribunal.

David Isaac, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said: “The best businesses know already that ending discrimination and unlocking the talent of women in the workplace makes them stronger and more successful. We encourage all businesses to follow their lead by supporting working mothers and showing zero tolerance of discrimination.”

Business Minister Margot James also commented: “Not only is discrimination in the workplace illegal – it makes absolutely no business sense, with a significant cost to employers and a devastating impact on the careers of new mothers and pregnant women.”

If you or your business require any further guidance or advice on the issues raised in this article then please do not hesitate to contact the employment team on 0161 672 1246.