Maternity Discrimination Solicitors in London

No matter who you are or where you work, there is legislation in place that protects the rights of maternity, paternity and family responsibilities. The key rights are those which provide for maternity leave, paternity leave, and the right to take time off to care for dependents.

Our specialist employment solicitors, based in London, can help you if you are a senior-level employee with a maternity, paternity or family rights workplace legal issue. 

100% Success Rate in Contentious Cases for both Employees & Employers

Contact our employment lawyers at 0207 9657203
or contact us online.

Maternity Rights and Pregnancy Discrimination

Time off during pregnancy

If you are pregnant and provide your employer with the correct notice of 15 weeks, you are entitled to 52 weeks of Statutory Maternity Leave, which is broken down as:

  • First 26 weeks of Ordinary Maternity Leave
  • Last 26 weeks of Additional Maternity Leave

You do not have to take the full 52 weeks, however, you must take the first two weeks following the birth as compulsory maternity leave.

You are paid for up to 39 weeks, which will either be Statutory Maternity Pay, Maternity Allowance or contractual maternity pay. Contractual pay can be more than statutory pay and is sometimes paid for more than 39 weeks (details of this should be your employment contract).

There are complex rules to be followed in respect of giving your employer notice that you are pregnant and wish to take maternity leave.

Protection against discrimination

Similar to age, gender, and sex discrimination, pregnancy and maternity is one of the protected characteristics outlined in the Equality Act 2010.

Because of this, pregnant employees benefit from enhanced protection from unfair treatment and discrimination and are entitled to reasonable paid time off for antenatal care. Expectant fathers or partners of a pregnant woman have the right to take time off to attend two antenatal appointments.

Women returning to work following Maternity Leave have the right to return to their original job or suitable alternative.

Keeping In Touch Day

During maternity leave, you and your employer can agree to up to ten Keeping In Touch (KIT) days. These are days on which you attend the workplace, and they can be important because they enable you to feel you’re still part of the workplace. You don’t have a legal right to be paid for KIT days, but many employers pay staff for them.

Health & Safety

Employers are legally obliged to take into account any health and safety risks to new and expectant mothers and should carry out a proper Risk Assessment in respect of the woman and baby. Risks could include long working hours, which are the norm in the City. They might also include heavy lifting or carrying, standing or sitting for long-period without adequate breaks, and exposure to toxic substances.

If the risk cannot be avoided, the employer must take steps to eliminate the risk or offer alternative suitable work (with no less favourable terms and conditions). If no suitable alternative work is available, the employer must suspend the expectant mother on full pay for as long as necessary to protect her health and safety or that of her baby.

Redundancy during maternity leave

A woman made redundant while on maternity leave must be offered any suitable alternative vacancy, without having to apply for it.

Breastfeeding in the office

After giving birth, you’ll likely be breastfeeding for the first six months of your infant’s life. If you are returning to the office during this stage, you are protected against discrimination, harassment and victimisation. Your employer must ensure reasonable adjustments have been made for you, which can include a clean and safe space for privacy.

If no reasonable adjustments have been made, and/or you are harassed and victimised by co-workers, you could have a discrimination claim.

Paternity Rights in the UK

Employees may be entitled to Paternity Leave and Pay if their partner is having a baby, adopting a child or having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement.

Paternity leave is available to employees who have or expect to have responsibility for the child's upbringing, are the biological father of the child or are the mother's husband or partner, and who have worked continuously for their employer for 41 weeks before the baby is due.

To exercise this right, you must tell your employer that you wish to take paternity leave no later than the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. You should make clear when the baby is due, whether you're going to take one or two weeks off, and when you expect paternity leave to start. Those who are eligible can choose to take either one week or two consecutive weeks' paid paternity leave.

During this time, you are allowed to take your eligible time off without it affecting your entitlement to paternity leave.

You may be entitled to Statutory Paternity Pay. From 2 April 2017, the rate will be lower of £140.98 per week or 90% of your average weekly earnings.

Shared Parental Leave

Shared Parental Leave allows eligible mothers, fathers, partners and adopters to choose how to share time off work in the first year after their child is born or adopted. It enables eligible parents to share the caring evenly or have one parent take the main caring role. This can involve returning to work during that time and then resuming leave at a later date.

Parents are able to share a pot of leave and can decide to be off work at the same time and/or take turns to have periods of leave to look after the child.

Time off for dependants

All employees have a legal right to a “reasonable” amount of time off to deal with emergencies involving a dependant (TOFD). The time off is unpaid unless your employer has granted contractual paid time off. A dependant is someone who depends on you for care. It is intended to deal with unforeseen matters and emergencies.

A dependant could be a spouse, partner, child, parent, or, potentially, an elderly neighbour with no family.

Examples of when TOFD is appropriate include:

  • Dealing with a breakdown in childcare,
  • Arranging longer-term care for children or elderly relatives,
  • Dealing with a seriously ill dependent,
  • Arranging or attending a funeral.

In most cases, a day or two will be sufficient to deal with the crisis, but it will depend on the individual circumstances. You must tell your employer as soon as possible why you are off, and how long you expect to be absent.

Maternity Discrimination Solicitors in London

If you have experienced unfavourable treatment or unfair dismissal at work due to maternity, paternity or any pregnancy-related illness, you may have a claim. As employment law solicitors, we are highly experienced in negotiating high value settlement agreements for senior level employees subject to unlawful maternity discrimination.

As a law firm with your interests at heart, we take pride in our flexible legal costs including fixed fees, capped fees and no win no fee arrangements.

Talk to us today and receive legal advice on the best course of action on negotiating a high value settlement claim.

Contact our employment lawyers at 0207 9657203

or contact us online.

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