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Citizens Advice responds to Select Committee report on pregnancy and maternity discrimination

31 August 2016

Citizens Advice has responded to the Women and Equalities Committee’s report on pregnancy and maternity discrimination.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Thousands of pregnant women and new mothers continue to face discrimination at work.

“In the last two years Citizens Advice has helped with 58% more maternity leave problems. Too often women find their working hours are reduced, or they are moved over to a zero hour contract after they tell their boss they are pregnant.

“We welcome the committee’s call for the government to do more to help women facing this kind of discrimination. Maternity protections are part of people’s employment rights but responsibility for enforcing these is poorly resourced and spread across a wide range of agencies, from HMRC to the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority. This confusing landscape means some some bad bosses are getting away with treating their employees unfairly.

“There is an opportunity for the government to consider bringing together the expertise of all  current labour market enforcement functions into one well resourced effective body to investigate bad practice. This will make it much easier for people to seek redress if they are being denied any of their employment rights.”


Notes to editors

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  3. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit
  4. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.
  5. Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full service statistics see our publication Advice trends.
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.