A union official believes there is a “strong case” for greater enforcement of employment laws to protect women employees who have children.
Kevin Rowan, Regional Secretary at the Northern Trades Union Congress, welcomed proposals from the Fawcett Society that emphasise the “dramatic cost of motherhood to working women”.
Writing in north-east newspaper the Journal, Mr Rowan said women’s pay is 17.1 per cent lower than men’s for full-time work – some 40 years after the introduction of equal pay legislation.
He also welcomed the proposal of compensating mothers for time out of the workplace – which “the best employers already do”.
“Many employers, of course, discriminate in recruitment, deliberately avoiding employing women of childbearing age, seeing it as a potential future ‘burden’,” Mr Rowan said.
“Sometimes it is just downright discrimination, believing that employing a mother increases the risk of absenteeism and unreliability,” he added.
Data published before the recession by the Equality and Human Rights Commission predicted that 30,000 women lose their jobs each year as a result of reasons linked to them falling pregnant.
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