Belfast Telegraph

Businesses team up to tackle discrimination against new mothers

Leading businesses are forming a new alliance to help tackle pregnancy and maternity discrimination which affects about 390,000 pregnant women and new mothers each year.

Barclays, Royal Mail and BT Group are among those forming a coalition aimed at eradicating discrimination from their businesses and making the best use of their female workforce.

The companies will encourage businesses in their supply chains to pledge to make their workplaces the best they can be for pregnant women and new mothers.

They will share their knowledge, experience and good practice with businesses who sign up, as well as highlighting the economic benefits they get from retaining the talent and experience of their female employees.

David Isaac, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: "We can no longer accept women being unfairly treated at work because they are pregnant or on maternity leave. We are calling on employers to sign up to our initiative to commit to delivering equality and ensure working environments benefit everyone.

"Attracting, developing and retaining talent, regardless of gender, is absolutely critical for the UK economy and for our businesses. Companies that show a real commitment to this are not only doing the right thing but can also gain a competitive edge.

"We want to raise the bar across the business community and ultimately improve the experiences of employers and employees."

Business Minister Margot James said: "I'm extremely encouraged that some of the UK's largest businesses have committed to the EHRC's new campaign and I urge other employers, large and small, to add their support.

"As the Prime Minister has made clear, we are working to build an economy that works for all and ensuring workplaces are free from discrimination is vital to achieving that goal."