Protections against redundancy for parents returning to work should match those already in place during maternity leave, according to the Law Society of Scotland.
In its response to a UK Government consultation on pregnancy and maternity discrimination, the professional body for Scottish solicitors has supported extra redundancy protections for new parents returning to work from maternity leave, shared parental leave and adoption leave. The UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is exploring proposals to extend existing redundancy protection for pregnant women and new parents following the government’s commitment in response to the Taylor Review of modern working practices.
Stuart Neilson, Convener of the Law Society of Scotland’s Employment Law Sub-Committee, said: “Following a return to work, new parents may be disadvantaged in a redundancy exercise when they have been out of the workplace for up to one year. They may also be vulnerable to assumptions being made about their commitment to the job and the impact that childcare responsibilities may have on future performance.
“Extending redundancy protection for a six-month period after returning to work strikes the right balance between the need to address potential disadvantages to new parents, and the need to provide flexibility to employers and respect for other employees facing redundancy. The extension would also help bring clarity and consistency to the legal position for employers and employees.”
The Law Society has also said that current redundancy protections should be extended to parents taking adoption leave and shared parental leave.
Stuart Neilson added: “All parents, male or female, should have the same protection in connection with leave associated with the birth or arrival of a child. In these cases, the six-month protection period should start when the period of maternity leave, adoption leave, or shared parental leave ends.”