Thank you for contacting me about employees being made redundant while pregnant or on maternity leave.
I sympathise with anyone who has been made redundant or who is currently facing redundancy, particularly during this already challenging time. I appreciate that many employees are worried that, as there are new restrictions, there may be redundancies.
There are some circumstances in which an employee who is pregnant or on maternity could legally be made redundant, and these include if the businesses closes down either temporarily or permanently, if the business moves and the employee cannot get to the new premises, or if fewer employees are required for existing work.
However, the law is very clear, if an employee is made redundant because she is pregnant or on maternity leave, this is unfair dismissal and also pregnancy/maternity discrimination. If this is the case, an employee should check their rights online (https://www.gov.uk/redundancy-your-rights) and if necessary take their case forward to an employment tribunal.
I am pleased that the Government has taken measures to support employees and protect jobs throughout this crisis and winter period, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Over 9 million employees have been furloughed under the CJRS and I welcome that the scheme has been extended to the end of March 2021.
The Pregnancy & Maternity (Redundancy Protection) Private Members’ Bill, which failed to complete its passage in the previous Parliament, was re-introduced on 8 July 2020 by Mrs Maria Miller MP. I understand that the Bill seeks to further protect employees from being made redundant as a result of being pregnant or on maternity leave. I understand that its Second Reading is scheduled to be on 12 March 2021 and I look forward to hearing more on this important issue.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP