Minister Kelly Tolhurst MP’s Plans to Extend Protections for Working New Mothers

Rochester and Strood MP and Small Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst has today set out new proposals to protect women and new parents from discrimination after they return to work.

Less than a generation ago, roles in the family were fixed – women were expected to stay at home while mean when out to earn the money. Times have changed. Today, a record five million mothers are now working and innovating the UK’s businesses and public services, while many more men are also taking bigger roles in caring for their children.

Kelly Tolhurst MP’s proposals are designed to benefit those hard-working new mothers across the UK by extending legal protection against redundancy for women who have taken maternity leave for up to six months after they return to work. This is yet another example of this Conservative government standing up for parents’ and workers’ rights.

The UK already benefits from some of the most generous workers’ rights in the world and the government is committed to extending these further as we leave the EU. For instance, up to 52 weeks of Maternity Leave are available, 39 weeks of which are paid, which is nearly three times the EU minimum requirement of 14 weeks paid leave. The UK also gives fathers and partners a statutory right to Paternity Leave and Pay, something the EU is only now starting to consider.

On publishing the proposals Kelly Tolhurst MP said,

“I am delighted to put forward these proposals and stand up for hard-working new mothers who all contribute so much to our local and national economy, whether it be here in Medway or across the UK.

“Pregnancy and maternity discrimination is illegal but sadly some new mothers still find unacceptable attitudes on their return to work which effectively forces them out of hard-earned jobs.

“Bringing a child into this world can be one of the most rewarding moments in life and it is only right new mothers have the job security they deserve to continue providing for their young families.

“As part of this Conservative government I am proud of the record we have when it comes to protecting parents’ and workers’ rights and these proposals are just another way to support them at such a crucial stage of their lives.”

The consultation on these proposals will also ask if parents returning from adoption leave or shared parental leave should get the same protection. It is now live and can be accessed via the government consultations website: