Rights for women seem to be getting further and further away as a recent report has revealed that there has been a sharp rise in the number of women who have lost their jobs through maternity leave or through pregnancy.
Leading campaign group have claimed that the sharp increase is a result of employers not wanting to foot their members of staff maternity costs and as a result mothers and expectant mothers are losing their job and lively hood.
The Alliance Against Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace has said that there has been a sharp increase in the number of women consulting lawyers or calling help lines because their jobs have been terminated during maternity leave or pregnancy.
The alliance told The Guardian: “It appears that some employers are using the recession as an excuse to break the law on discrimination.”
Campaigners have said that the “long-term consequences of job loss as a result of pregnancy or maternity leave jeopardise women’s financial security for their whole lives”.
It is reported that 30,000 women each year lose their jobs due to pregnancy, however this figure is set to rise due to the credit crunch according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Elizabeth Gardiner, parliamentary policy officer at Working Families, a campaign group on work-life balance that is part of the alliance, said women had approached them with more severe examples of discrimination in recent months. “Employers seem much more willing to flout the law,” she said.
Campaigners are concerned that attitudes towards maternity rights have hardened among many employers whose businesses are struggling in the economic downturn.
The alliance believes that new mothers will be seen as “fair game” for dismissal during the recession.
And key business leaders such as Sir Alan Sugar are fuelling this hostility in the business world towards enhanced maternity rights.
Sugar is reported to have said: “We have maternity laws where people are entitled to have too much. Everything has gone too far.”