Increase in maternity discrimination makes the cost of pregnancy expensive

Posted by Jasmin Stopford in Personal Finance on 28 November 2016 - Jasmin is a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

Over the last ten years maternity discrimination has dramatically risen, making the choice of starting a family an unsettling decision.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Equality & Human Rights Commission has released research showing that 11% of women reported being dismissed, made redundant or treated so badly that they had no option but to leave once becoming pregnant.

Maria Miller, of the Women and Equalities Committee, says, “The arrival of a new baby puts family finances under extreme pressure yet, despite this, thousands of expectant and new mothers have no choice but to leave their work because of concerns about the safety of their child or pregnancy discrimination.”

Collectively, British women lose £113m a year due to losing their job either during or immediately after a pregnancy. Staggeringly, those that do keep their jobs still lose £34m on returning to work as a result of failing to get promotion, having their salaries reduced, being demoted and receiving a lower bonus.

According to previous investigations, it costs £230,000 to raise a child to the age of 18, £5,400 for part-time childcare and £186 to send a child back to school with their new uniform and kit. Such costs cannot be supported if women are punished financially due to conceiving in the first place.

However, it’s not just women that are financially affected, as businesses lose nearly £280m a year due to recruitment and training costs, as well as lost productivity.

Jo Swinson, of Maternity Action, concludes, “Too many women are unfairly selected for redundancy and lack the resources to challenge this. We need to provide stronger legal protection against discrimination for women facing redundancy during pregnancy, maternity leave and return to work. Employment tribunal fees of up to £1,200 make justice unaffordable for most women. We need to remove financial barriers to accessing justice if we want women to exercise their rights.”

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