PORTSMOUTH South MP Flick Drummond has called for urgent action to battle the high increase of discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace over the last decade.
A report released today by the Women and Equalities Committee shows that new and expectant mothers still face a high proportion of discrimination in employment.
In 2015, more than 54,000 new and expectant mothers were forced to leave their jobs by their employers, according to a further report.
The findings from the committee, which Mrs Drummond sits on, highlight the inequalities in the opportunities and prospects for pregnant women and new mothers.
In May, members of the committee visited Portsmouth to hear women’s stories and experiences. Organised by Portsmouth National Childbirth, the event was part the report’s findings.
New and expectant mothers who are causal, agency or zero hour workers also have less protection than full-time workers.
Mrs Drummond said: ‘This state of affairs, affecting a vulnerable section of society, is completely unacceptable in 2016 and it is something that must be addressed in very much the same way that gay and transgender rights have been tackled over the last few years,
‘We were also particularly concerned about safe working environments for new and expectant mothers and an increase in protection for causal, agency and zero-hours workers.
Mrs Drummond and other MPs have called for changes to stop unfair redundancies, citing Germany’s system as an example to follow.
They also want more protection for women with casual, agency and zero-hours jobs.
Mrs Drummond said: ‘This country really does need to recognise the enormous value of mothers and, indeed fathers, in employment and it has to seize this opportunity to have flexible working practices around caring responsibilities in addition to ending this discrimination.’
Angela Rainer, shadow minister for women and equalities, said the report shows thousands of pregnant women are being ‘priced out of justice’ because of tribunal fees introduced by the government.