AHEAD of the House of Commons debate yesterday, the GMB Trade Union says an estimated 54,000 women lose their jobs every year due to pregnancy or maternity.
The GMB is demanding that mothers cannot be sacked from the moment they become pregnant until 12 months after they return to work.
The call came as Tory MP Maria Miller introduced a bill on maternity, pregnancy and redundancy in the House of Commons yesterday.
An estimated 390,000 women suffer discrimination or disadvantage every year as a result of pregnancy or maternity leave.
And a total of 54,000 women are thought to lose their jobs every year due to pregnancy or maternity.
Research shows women are better protected if they are in a trade union.
The GMB is calling for an extension of protection from dismissal from the moment the pregnancy begins – to include those on zero-hours contracts and agency workers.
Sue Harris, GMB Legal Director, said: ‘There are many unscrupulous employers out there who think it is perfectly acceptable to sack pregnant women or new mums – or take every opportunity to force them out of the business.
‘It’s disgraceful, frankly. And as a society we shouldn’t tolerate this outdated, sexist attitude to women in the workplace.
‘Research shows a startling attitude amongst employers to women returning from maternity leave.
‘More than a quarter of employers said pregnancy put an unreasonable cost burden on their business and nearly the same percentage said women returning from maternity leave weren’t as interested in career progression now they had children.
‘What outrageous nonsense – and why don’t employers hold similar views about men who have become parents?
‘We are calling on the government to strengthen our laws to protect women in the workplace and we call on employers to recognise the talents of the women they employ who also happen to be