Trainee midwives lose maternity pay discrimination case

Three
student midwives who were denied paid maternity leave while training have lost
their sexual discrimination case.

The
three claimed that they had suffered financial and emotional hardship after
being denied the right to maternity pay from the Department of Health (DoH).

They
took legal action against health secretary John Reid and Blackpool Fylde and
Wyre Hospitals NHS Trust – the trust reponsible for implementing their
bursaries.

Despite
ruling against the three women, the Central London Employment Tribunal was
critical of the DoH’s £6,000 annual bursary scheme which allows for 60 days of
sick leave, but stops payment immediately if a student takes maternity leave.

In
its ruling, the tribunal said: "It is uncomfortable that, in the sensitive
context of hospital wards caring for mothers and babies, there is now an
absence of a protective regime of maternity leave and maternity pay for trainee
midwives on the diploma programme."

The three
women are considering an appeal.

By
Mike Berry

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