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'Ill-treatment' of pregnant workers

Expectant mothers face being sacked, bullied or sidelined because of old-fashioned attitudes by employers, a new report has warned.

The TUC said that although the law is on the side of pregnant women, many felt "shunned" as soon as they told colleagues they were pregnant.

The union organisation said employment tribunal complaints involving pregnant women went up by a fifth during the recession, revealing a poor employer attitudes towards pregnancy.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "The law might have changed 40 years ago, but the way many employers behave when they discover an employee is pregnant suggests they are stuck in a 1970s time warp, back to an age when starting a family meant the end of paid work for women.

"For many women what should be one of the happiest times of their lives soon becomes full of anxiety and stress - one where bullying, harassment and ill-treatment in the workplace is an unacceptably common experience.

"More needs to be done to drag old-fashioned employers into the 21st century so that mothers who work are as valued by their bosses as working fathers.

"The Government could help by raising statutory pay for parental leave from its miserly rate of £138 a week. This would encourage more dads to take time out of the workplace and help challenge the stereotypes about working mothers."

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