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Protest discrimination against working mums

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protest, discrimination, working mums, pregnant women, Pregnant then Screwed, Halloween demoJoin Pregnant Then Screwed in London this Halloween for ‘The March of the Mummies’.

Women have babies.

Obviously you lot all realise this as you are pretty observant folk, but many UK companies – and government legislation – are ill-prepared for this.

It has been 14 months since the government-commissioned report into pregnancy and maternity discrimination was published.

This report showed that every year, 54,000 women lose their job for getting pregnant and 390,000 working mums experience negative and potentially discriminatory treatment at work each year.

This is a figure that has almost doubled in the last 10 years.

The report also demonstrated how difficult it has been for victims of this type of discrimination to access justice: less than 1 per cent have made a tribunal claim.

Fees introduced in 2013 meant it cost £1200 to bring a claim in an employment tribunal for anyone who was dismissed by their employer or who was faced with discrimination.

On 26 July 2017 the Supreme Court decided that employment tribunal fees are unlawful as they prevent access to justice.

And there is to be a further court hearing to decide whether fees should be reimbursed for anyone who has paid them.

Nonetheless – 1 in 9 pregnant women have been – will be – pushed out of their job.

This experience affects their confidence, their mental health, their career, their relationship with their new baby and their ability to pay their bills.

So since this report, the government has stalled and stalled, paying lip service to the issue but doing naff all to improve the outlook for working mums.

And in that time 70,000 women have been pushed out of their job for daring to want both a family and work or a career.

Pregnant Then Screwed is organising a major demonstration in London to ask the government to address this issue urgently.

Pregnant Then Screwed was set up to protect, support and promote the rights of mothers who suffer the effects of systemic, cultural, and institutional discrimination.

Its various schemes and activities include providing free legal advice service; lobbying the government for legislative change; a website where women post their stories of discrimination anonymously; and a mentor scheme that supports women who are considering legal action against their employer.

And on 31 October, individuals and families from all over the UK will come together to stand up for the rights of working mums.

You can come too.

Pregnant Then Screwed has 5 demands which will improve access to justice and will better protect working mums.

They are:

1) Increase the time limit to raise a tribunal claim from 3 months to (at least) 6 months for pregnant and postpartum women.

2) Require companies to report on how many flexible working requests are made and how many are granted.

3) Give fathers access to 6 weeks non-transferable paternity leave paid at 90 per cent of salary.

4) Give the self employed access to statutory shared parental pay.

5) Subsidise childcare from 6 months old, rather than 3 years old.

Eliminating pregnancy and maternity discrimination is good for women, families and the economy. And until they see the government taking decisive action, Pregnant Then Screwed will continue to bang the drum.

The rally will take place on 31 October from 12noon – 2pm.

The starting point will be Trafalgar Square, and they would love as many people as possible to dress as mummies  – the walking dead kind.

If you are interested in attending, please let Pregnant Then Screwed know so they have an idea of how many people to expect on the day. Register here.

There is also a protest outside Belfast City Hall starting at 12 noon.

Pregnant Then Screwed along with Reclaim the Agenda, the Belfast Feminist Network and the Women’s Resource and Development Agency (WRDA) seek to highlight the issue of maternity discrimination which haunts almost half of new mums in Northern Ireland.

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