Pregnancy and maternity discrimination

The law relating to pregnancy and maternity discrimination is governed by the Equality Act 2010. The core provisions of the Equality Act 2010, which repealed the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, came into force on 1 October 2010. While the Equality Act 2010 largely consolidated previous discrimination legislation, it also designated pregnancy and maternity as a protected characteristic in its own right.

The Equality Act 2010 specifically protects women against direct discrimination and victimisation because of the protected characteristic of pregnancy and maternity. While there are no specific provisions in the Equality Act 2010 for indirect discrimination and harassment in relation to pregnancy and maternity, a woman can claim sex discrimination in these cases. For example, many indirect sex discrimination cases are connected with the refusal of employers to allow women returning from maternity leave to work part time.


UK banks increase number of female board members

The proportion of women employed on the boards of banks in the UK has risen 9% since 2015, compared with a 2% increase in Europe.

Ensure women do not lose out on maternity pay, say Labour

12 Aug 2020

The Labour party has called for the government to take urgent action to ensure that those who have been pregnant...

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‘Alarm’ over gaps in worker support goes unheeded say MPs

29 Jul 2020

Repeatedly raised concerns over gaps in support for workers and businesses during the coronavirus crisis continue to go unheeded, a...

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gender split in boardroom

Lack of women in top roles sees leading firms miss out on profits

27 Jul 2020

FTSE 350 companies are missing out on sizeable profits through a failure to appoint more women to key executive roles.

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MP’s bid to protect women from unfair redundancy gets over first hurdle

10 Jul 2020

Maria Miller's proposals aim to bolster rights of women on maternity leave, who are often considered an easy target for redundancy.

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Top UK employers urged to disclose parental leave and pay

6 Jul 2020

Employers warned they could lose out on the best talent if they do not include transparency over family friendly working arrangements.

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Worker awarded compensation after missed antenatal check-up

15 Jun 2020

IT finance analyst is awarded £4,000 in a case involving attitudes to sickness, workloads, mental health and pregnancy.

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Maternity leave and furlough: what options do HR have?

5 May 2020

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme rules are complicated enough, without the added layer of complexity surrounding maternity leave and new...

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Law firm employee dismissed because she was pregnant awarded £23k

21 Apr 2020

A law firm has been ordered to pay more than £23,000 for pregnancy discrimination after it sacked a pregnant employee...

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Liz Earle Beauty Company adopted discriminatory redundancy process for pregnant worker

8 Apr 2020

The Liz Earle Beauty Company must pay a former employee more than £17,000 for pregnancy and maternity discrimination, after it...

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Top 10 HR questions March 2020: Coronavirus

2 Apr 2020

The coronavirus pandemic dominated the top 10 most popular FAQs in March.
The coronavirus outbreak is having a big impact...

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Sacked pregnant worker wins £17k compensation from Liz Earle Beauty Company

10 Jan 2020

Helen Larkin was made redundant at eight months' pregnant.

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Family-friendly rights: what to look out for in 2020 and beyond

10 Jan 2020

Brexit seemed to put the brakes on progress for family-friendly rights last year, but 2020 and beyond could see some...

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Female police officer wins sexism appeal over London allowance

3 Dec 2019

A female police officer’s claim for sex discrimination has been upheld after she did not receive a ‘London allowance’ during her maternity leave.

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#MeToo at two: how far have we come?

15 Oct 2019

The #MeToo movement is two years old this week and has been influential in altering behaviour, bolstering equality and respect...

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