EHRC chair responds to report from Women and Equalities Committee
Baroness Kishwer Falkner, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:
“Significant progress has been made on women’s equality at work and this cannot be put at risk. The pandemic has caused economic hardship for many businesses and the people that work for them, particularly in industries where women make up a large percentage of the workforce such as hospitality. We also know that women are over-represented in low-paid and insecure employment and still take on the majority of caring responsibilities.
“We agree with the Women and Equalities Committee’s findings, which echo our own assessments. Reviewing levels of investment in childcare, introducing flexible working as the default from day one, and better protections for pregnant women and new mothers against redundancy will help to safeguard their position in the workplace.
“Employers must pay close attention to the law on pregnancy and maternity discrimination. Everyone has the right to a working environment that allows them to reach their full potential, and pregnant women and new mothers must be adequately protected so that they can continue to contribute their skills and experience to Britain’s recovery.
“If we further develop the new ways of working that everyone has adjusted to during the pandemic, including building more flexible working options for employees, there is a real opportunity to increase the diversity of our workforce. This will not only help businesses by harnessing a range of talents, but also help reduce some of the inequality that exists in our society.”