Pregnancy Discrimination Growing at Work in U.K.

  • Expectant, new mothers losing jobs surged to 54,000 in 2015
  • Panel says Britain should adopt German-style protections

Pregnant women and new mothers face growing discrimination at work in the U.K., with tens of thousands being forced out of their jobs every year, according to a panel of lawmakers that called on the government to adopt German-style protections.

As many as 54,000 women lost their jobs in 2015, either through being fired, made redundant or being treated “so poorly that they felt they had to leave their job,” Parliament’s cross-party Women and Equalities Committee said in a report published Wednesday. That’s up from 30,000 a decade earlier.

“The arrival of a new baby puts family finances under extreme pressure yet, despite this, thousands of expectant and new mothers have no choice but to leave their work because of concerns about the safety of their child or pregnancy discrimination,” Chairwoman Maria Miller said in an e-mailed statement. “The economy will suffer unless employers modernize their workplace practices to ensure effective support and protection for expectant and new mums.”

The panel called on the government to publish a plan within the next two years to deal with discrimination. Other recommendations include the right to paid ante-natal appointments, compulsory assessments of workplace health and safety risks for pregnant women and new mothers and increased protection from redundancy, as seen in Germany.