Tuesday July 7, 2020
For the road ahead

A quarter of pregnant women have faced discrimination at work during the coronavirus outbreak

10/6/2020

A new union poll of more than 3,400 women who have been pregnant or on maternity leave during the Covid-19 pandemic found that one in four had experienced unfair treatment at work, including being singled out for redundancy or furlough.

Of those surveyed, low-paid pregnant women (earning less than £23,000 a year) were much more likely than women on higher salaries to have been forced to lose pay and stop work.

Pregnant women said they were required to take sick leave when they were not sick, to take unpaid leave, to start their maternity leave early or to leave the workplace, because their employer did not act to make their workplace safe for them.

All of these actions are illegal. Pregnant women have the right to be suspended on full pay if workplace risks to their health cannot be removed or reduced, or suitable alternative work is not available.

The URTU is calling on the government to take action now and:

Change the law to protect new and expectant mums' health and safety: Employers are already required to undertake a Covid-19 risk assessment, which should take account of additional risks to anyone who is pregnant or a new mum. The government should now change the law to require employers to undertake individual written risk assessments when they are informed that a woman who works for them is pregnant, has given birth in the past six months or is breastfeeding. Assessment of risk should involve discussions with the woman involved, and if any risk is identified then it must be removed.

Enforce the law: The government should make it clear to employers that if the risks facing a pregnant worker cannot be removed, and there is no alternative work available, pregnant women have the right to be suspended from work on full pay. The Health and Safety Executive should enforce the law through spot checks and should encourage pregnant women to raise concerns with them (anonymously if necessary). Employers who break the law should be subject to the full range of penalties including fines. 

« Back to news list


Our aims...

URTU is a non-political organisation dedicated to advancing the interests of those workers connected with the road haulage industry.
More informationMore information

10 reasons...

Join the UK's only specialist road haulage, distribution and logistics union - an organisation that negotiates improvements.
More informationMore information

Join now...

Click here and fill in an online application form. Rates are available for drivers, non-drivers and part-time employees.
More informationMore information