Consultation on extending redundancy protection for mothers and new parents
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has opened a consultation seeking views on proposals to extend the redundancy protection of new mothers from the date they notify their employer in writing of their pregnancy to six months after their return from maternity leave.
This follows the publication of the Women and Equalities Select Committee (WESC) report into pregnancy and maternity discrimination, and the Government's response to it, in which it committed to strengthening the position of women in relation to pregnancy, maternity and redundancy.
The consultation document deals with the proposals in the WESC report to extend the time limit to bring an employment tribunal claim in pregnancy and maternity discrimination cases from three to six months. Although the consultation does not ask any questions relating to extending the tribunal time limit, it does state that the Government has committed to consult to explore the evidence for changing employment tribunal time limits for claims relating to discrimination, harassment and victimisation, including on grounds of pregnancy and maternity. However, the consultation states that, following the publication of the WESC report, Her Majesty's Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) collected data on the pregnancy and maternity discrimination claims presented out of time to the employment tribunal. From January to June 2018 25 cases were accepted out of time on the grounds that it was just and equitable to do so and none were rejected. The consultation concludes that the Government hopes that the increased awareness of claims being accepted out of time means that women will bring claims even if they have missed the three month time limit.
It's worth noting that the potential extension of employment tribunal time limits forms part of the Law Commission consultation on employment law hearing structures which closes on 31 January 2019.
This article is taken from HR Law - February 2019.