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New guidance has been published to help tackle the problem of pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace.

Conciliation service ACAS has published the new guidelines following a large increase in calls on the subject, over 14,000 calls in total – a 10% increase from the previous year.

The guide provides a thorough rundown of ‘key areas of employment’ where pregnancy and maternity discrimination can occur and explains the rights of pregnant employees in said areas. These include recruitment, training redundancy, maternity leave and return to work to name a few.

Also covered are the more controversial and complex areas that employers often struggle with, including rights surrounding paid time off for antenatal appointments, shared parental leave and support for employees with premature or sick babies.

Julie Denis, head of diversity and inclusion at Acas, said: “This new guidance can help managers deal fairly with women at work in areas such as recruitment, promotion and redundancy.”

“Women should not suffer any unfair treatment while pregnant or on maternity leave, and most employers treat their employees fairly. Those that don’t could find themselves at an employment tribunal.

The employment law team at Gorvins Solicitors run an advice line through campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed to help those who feel they have been discriminated against whilst pregnant or on maternity leave.

The volume of calls ACAS has been receiving as well as the significant increase we have seen ourselves at Gorvins Solicitors over the past year shows that pregnancy and maternity discrimination is still highly prevalent in workplaces across the country.

However, the publicity and increased awareness that pregnancy and maternity discrimination has been receiving in recent months is an incredibly positive step in the right direction.

These new guidelines are without a doubt the most comprehensive produced to date and will not only be invaluable in educating employers on their obligations when managing their pregnant employees but also allow pregnant employees to better understand their rights so they can identify when discrimination is taking place.

If you feel you have been unfairly treated at work as a result of your pregnancy or maternity leave you can contact the team on 0161 930 5151 or e-mail and one of our employment solicitors will be able to give you impartial advice on how to deal with the situation.

View the new ACAS Guidance here.

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