Open Navigation

Pregnancy and Maternity

Protecting the rights of mothers

Women are protected against unfavourable treatment and discrimination from the start of their pregnancy to the end of their maternity leave. This is known as the “protected period”, and applies to job applicants as well as existing workers

The protection afforded to pregnant women or women on maternity leave applies from the start of pregnancy to the end of maternity leave. This is known as the “protected period.” The protection applies to job applicants as well as existing workers and employees.

An employer must not discriminate against a woman during the protected period because of any illnesses that she suffers from as a result of her pregnancy or maternity. For example, an employer may wish to record that absences are because of pregnancy or maternity but not include them when it comes to reviewing her attendance for disciplinary purposes.

It is unlawful to treat a woman unfavourably because she is on compulsory maternity leave, or because she is seeking to or exercising her right to ordinary or additional maternity leave. Banter, for example about pregnant employees going ‘on holiday’ rather than maternity leave would be an example, as would overlooking someone for a bonus, promotion of other career opportunity.

There are additional protections offered to pregnant women or those on maternity leave during redundancy situations. For example, an employer must ensure that those on maternity leave are properly consulted about the redundancy situation and that that redundancy selection criteria does not discriminate. This could mean that absences connected with pregnancy and maternity should not be included. In addition, if someone on ordinary or additional maternity leave is potentially going to be made redundant, she is entitled to be offered any suitable available vacancy in priority to other potentially redundant employees.

News

Family Based Immigration

British National (Overseas) – Hong Kong

The new UK immigration rules, enabling residence with permission to work and study for British National (Overseas) citizens who are ordinarily resident in Hong Kong, opened to applicants on 31 January 2021. Who can apply? The primary applicant must be a British National (Overseas) citizen pursuant to the Hong Kong (British Nationality) Order 1986. This…

Read More

Gender-fluid and non-binary employees protected against discrimination

Under section 7 of the Equality Act 2010 (“the Equality Act”), employees are protected from discrimination and harassment related to gender reassignment. A person who  “is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes…

Read More