Good Work Plan Phase Two: Redundancy protection extended for new mums

26 July 2019

The Pregnancy and Maternity (Redundancy Protection) Bill 2019.

The government has announced that redundancy protection will now apply from the time that an organisation is informed of a pregnancy until six months after the mother returns to work.

This announcement would seem to be the latest move by the government in facilitating workplace reform, something that remains a priority as part of the Good Work Plan.


Under current equality law (The Equality Act 2010), pregnant women and new mothers are protected from discrimination on the grounds of their pregnancy by the imposition of a ‘protected period’.   Should a redundancy situation arise, and it is not practicable for an employee on maternity leave to continue to be employed under her existing contract, she is entitled to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy where one exists. This period currently runs from the start of the pregnancy until the time the employee returns to work, or two weeks after the end of her pregnancy if she did not take any maternity leave.

The government has now committed to the following:

  • extending the redundancy protection period to apply from the point the employee informs the organisation she is pregnant until six months after she has returned to work. This protection will also apply to those on adoption leave
  • extending the redundancy protection period for any employees on shared parental leave, with more guidance on this coming at a later date
  • setting up a taskforce to develop an action plan for additional steps that can be taken by the government and other organisations to assist pregnant employees and new mothers to stay in work.

Aspire Comment

The Government has yet to confirm when these developments will come into force. In the meantime, it is highly advisable that businesses familiarise themselves with the current protections afforded to employees on family leave and prepare for ongoing changes to the law.

If you are considering a restructure of your organisation and would like to discuss these proposed changes, then do get in touch. 

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