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Recent research has shown pregnancy and maternity related discrimination in the UK to be high and increasing. The number feeling forced out of a job has doubled in a decade.
A cross-party select committee has suggested that stronger protection should be put in place to protect women from redundancy related to pregnancy and maternity. We may see future changes in the law as a result of this recommendation.
A woman can be made redundant whilst pregnant or on maternity leave, but only if there is a genuine redundancy situation. There must be a fair redundancy selection process followed, and redundancy and notice pay owed must be paid.
Women on maternity leave have a right to be offered a suitable alternative position if one is available, without interview.
If an employee is selected as a result of pregnancy or maternity leave or to avoid paying SMP, or if suitable alternative work is not offered, automatically unfair dismissal or discrimination may be claimed.
It is important that you know your responsibilities as an employer.