Every year, around 350,000 women in the UK continue to work after becoming pregnant.
Around a tenth of these new and expectant mothers reported being dismissed, singled out for compulsory redundancy, or forced out of their job by poor treatment. So it’s about time that all employers cut out this bias against new and expectant mothers and work towards equality.
But how do we go about removing this bias? And what can employers do?
Stop treating pregnancy as an illness
Obviously, pregnancy is not an illness. Therefore, women should not be signed off as “sick” when simply taking time off for appointments relating to their pregnancy.
Create a risk assessment
The HSE state “Your workplace risk assessment must specifically consider any risks to the health and safety of a new or expectant mother, or that of her baby”. These risks could include any physical or biological risks, or chemical agents. You, as an employer, also need to consider working conditions in the workplace risk assessment.
Agree on a required frequency of breaks
Both parties should agree on how many breaks a new or expectant mother needs. Extra breaks may be needed for breastfeeding, or simply because being a mother is tiring.
Being open and encouraging their staff to come forward
Employers should encourage staff to talk openly about their pregnancy - what they’re looking forward to, what scares them, their concerns regarding work/ life balance, etc. - to show the employee that they’re a valued member of staff.
Watch here as iHASCO employees discuss their biggest fears as expectant mothers!