We start this month with bad news for pregnant women and mothers. First it was reported that 54,000 pregnant workers are being forced out of their jobs each year. Figures from the Equality and Human Rights Commission show this is almost twice as many as a decade ago. And the negative news for parents is that further reports suggest that on return from maternity leave mothers then face a wider pay gap when compared to men than their childless female colleagues. Press coverage has also been given to reports from the Citizens Advice Bureau that they have seen a 60% increase in women seeking advice on maternity leave issues such as roles being changed and hours reduced. This is an ongoing problem and it is to be hoped the consistent press coverage will contribute to resolving the issue.
Information from the Office of National Statistics confirming that the use of zero hours contracts has increased by over 20% on the same time last year has received widespread press coverage. This follows on from research reported towards the end of 2015 that 65% of those engaged on zero hours contracts were satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs compared to 63% of all workers, and 32% of zero hours workers felt under excessive pressure at work compared to 41% of all workers. But just while you may be thinking that zero hours contracts are not all bad, Unite, the biggest union in Britain and Ireland published research in September saying that 64% of people in the UK want zero hours contracts banned. This is an issue that is set rumble on for some time.