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Five tips for young expectant mothers to avoid discrimination at work

Young expectant and new mothers are significantly more likely to suffer discrimination at work, a study has found.

A study has found young expectant mothers are more likely to face discrimination at work Credit: PA

Six times as many under 25-year-olds reported being sacked after telling their employer they were pregnant than the average, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

Its research among 3,200 working mothers of young children found that those under the age of 25 were more likely to be discouraged from attending antenatal appointments, given unsuitable workloads or suffer from stress than other mothers.

Discrimination uncovered by the study included sackings for pregnancy-related sickness or simply for being pregnant, and not offering the same training or promotion opportunities.

We cannot continue to allow these young women to be unfairly held back in the starting blocks of their working lives when they could have the potential to achieve greatness.

– Caroline Waters, deputy chairwoman of the EHRC

A campaign is being launched to help young expectant and new mothers to know their rights at work.

Here's the campaign's five top tips, more of which can be found on the PowertotheBump website.

  • Talk to your boss

It's a good idea to tell your employer you are pregnant as soon as possible, to line up taking time off for antenatal care, getting protection from workplace risks and ensuring you are protected from unfavourable treatment.

  • Go to your antenatal appointments

The research found 15% of mothers under 25 felt they were discouraged from attending their antenatal appointments by their employer - but once you have worked for 12 weeks in the same job, you can take reasonable paid time off for antenatal care.

  • Plan maternity leave

You must tell your employer when you want to start your maternity leave by the 15th week before the baby is due. It is a good idea to put it in writing so there is a record of having given the right information at the right time.

  • Talk about risks

Tell your line manager if you have any concerns about health and safety at work. These can include lifting, exposure to disease or chemicals, and posture.

  • Avoid stress

Ensure you are not being given an excessive workload, and talk to your employer first, then union representative if necessary.