Following the Taylor Review on Modern Working Practices, the government has published a consultation paper on pregnancy and maternity discrimination. Currently, women on maternity leave are given preferential access to suitable alternative employment if they are selected for redundancy (regulation 10 of the Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations 1999). If there is a suitable alternative vacancy, the woman must be offered it, not just invited to apply for it. This is the case even if there is a better qualified candidate for the vacancy.
The government proposes to extend that right to women who have returned from maternity leave in the previous 6 months. They are also considering extending the right to women who have just told their employer they are pregnant. The government is also asking whether the same preferential treatment should be extended to other groups: employees on adoption leave or shared parental leave, for example.
There is also a proposal to extend the three-month time limit for bringing pregnancy and maternity discrimination claims to 6 months.
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