Government proposes enhanced protections for new parents going back to work

4 Feb 2019 | Comment


A new government consultation has been launched to seek responses on extending redundancy protection for pregnant women and new parents.

The government consultation, which launched on 25 January 2019, proposes that the legal protection against redundancy for mothers on maternity leave should be extended.

The current protections are contained in Regulation 10 of the Maternity and Parental Leave etc Regulations 1999 and mean that before making an employee on maternity leave redundant, employers have an obligation to offer them (not just invite them to apply for) a suitable alternative vacancy, where one is available with the employer or an associated employer. This gives the woman priority over other employees who are also at risk of redundancy.

The consultation seeks views as to whether these protections ought to continue for up to 6 months after the new mother returns to work and also potentially apply to those who are pregnant.  This would mean that pregnant women and new mothers who had recently returned to work would have the same protection as that enjoyed by those on maternity leave.

The consultation also considers the impact of extending the redundancy protections to other groups who are taking extended periods of leave for similar purposes ie those on adoption, shared parental leave and longer periods of parental leave.

Views are sought from the government on these proposals, including how best to achieve them. Responses will need to be submitted by 5 April 2019.

If you would like any further information or advice on how this decision may affect you, please contact our employment team on 02922 675610.

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