The Women and Equalities Committee has called for UK women to have protections similar to those in Germany after a 'shocking' increase in workplace pregnancy discrimination over the past decade.
MPs have demanded urgent action, calling on the Government to publish an ambitious, detailed plan within the next two years or risk a further rise in pregnant women and mothers being forced out of their work.
Recommendations include changes to health and safety practices, preventing discriminatory redundancies and an increase in protection for casual, agency and zero-hours workers.
Committee Chair Maria Miller commented:
"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. Shockingly this figure has almost doubled in the last decade, now standing at 54,000.
"There are now record numbers of women in work in the UK. The economy will suffer unless employers modernise their workplace practices to ensure effective support and protection for expectant and new mums.
"The Government's approach has lacked urgency and bite. It needs to set out a detailed plan outlining the specific actions it will take to tackle this unacceptable level of discrimination. This work must be underpinned by concrete targets and changes to laws and protections to increase compliance by employers to improve women's lives."
The Gov.UK website section on Pregnancy and birth has more information about your rights while pregnant and when on maternity leave.
Turn2us resources for people expecting or bringing up a child
If you are expecting or bringing up a child, there may be benefits, grants or other financial support available to you.
You may find the following sections of our website helpful:
If you are struggling financially, you can also use our Benefits Calculator to check your entitlement to benefits and our Grants Search to see if you are eligible for help from a charitable fund, based on your personal circumstances and needs.
The Your Situation section on our website contains information resources on benefits and grants and a Find an Adviser tool to help you find face-to-face advice in your local area.
Source: Parliament UK Commons Select Committee: Stop shocking workplace discrimination of pregnant women, say MPs