The Government is going to extend redundancy protection for pregnant women and new parents. It will make the changes “when Parliamentary time allows”.
Pregnancy/maternity protection during pregnancy and for six months after leave ends
Before making a woman on maternity leave redundant, an employer must offer her any suitable available vacancy it has. The Government has confirmed that it will extend this protection so that it applies as soon as a pregnant woman informs her employer she is pregnant, whether orally or in writing. The protection will last until six months after the end of her maternity leave.
Adoption leave protection for six months after leave ends
Currently parents on adoption leave have the same protection. The Government will extend this so that it continues to apply until six months after the end of adoption leave.
Shared parental leave more difficult
Currently parents are protected whilst on shared parental leave. The Government will extend the protection so it applies to a parent who has returned from shared parental leave. However, it has not decided exactly how it will do this. Protection on return from shared parental leave is more difficult to deal with because periods of share parental leave can be combined with maternity leave, can be much shorter and can be taken in blocks with a return to work in between.
The Government will ensure that a woman who ends her maternity leave to take share parental leave will not be any worse of when it comes to redundancy protection. It also recognises that the length of protection for a parent returning from shared parental leave should be proportionate to the time spent on leave. This is because the risk of discrimination increases with the length of absence from work.
No protection on return from paternity leave
The Government has decided not to extend redundancy protection to employees returning from paternity leave. They remain protected whilst on leave.