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Pregnancy Discrimination Affects A Million


Active Member
Sep 10, 2004
A two-year investigation by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has found that 30,000 women are forced out of their jobs each year for getting pregnant or taking maternity leave.

Overall, nearly half of the nation's 440,000 pregnant women experience pregnancy-related discrimination at work but choose to suffer in silence rather than asserting their rights.

Some seven out of 10 pregnant women treated unfairly by their bosses do not speak out. Only 3% of those who are sacked seek compensation through an employment tribunal claim, and less than one in 20 get legal advice.

Such discrimination has a knock-on effect for all women, even those with no intention of having children, the EOC said, as some employers may deliberately avoid hiring women of childbearing age.

Comprising nearly half of the UK's workforce, employers risk losing women's skills and experience altogether, as those who are discriminated are six times more likely not to return to work at all.

Financially, women sacked for getting pregnant lose £12 million in maternity pay each year, but their employers spend £126 million trying to replace them.

In its report, the EOC said it found a desire from all stakeholders to find a resolution to the problem. It recommended that the government ensure every pregnant woman receives a written statement of maternity rights and responsibilities at her first antenatal visit, with a copy to hand to her employer.

In return, employers would get a 'green light' to ask pregnant women for a clear indication of when they will return from maternity leave and receive greater support from the government.