General union Unite warned today that it won't let rogue bosses get away with trying to sidestep or ignore new guidelines on maternity leave or redundancy.
Unite said "record numbers" of people have contacted it over pregnancy and maternity discrimination since the coalition's cuts onslaught.
The new good practice guide Managing Redundancy for Pregnant Employees and Those on Maternity Leave has been developed by conciliation service Acas alongside the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Unite said it has had mounting reports of employers failing to properly consider such issues as flexible working.
It is supporting the widely backed Valuing Maternity campaign, as part of its commitment to "tackling rogue employers who unfairly and unlawfully target pregnant women and new mothers for redundancy."
The campaign, launched on July 4 and led by charity Maternity Action, is calling for more job security for pregnant women and new mothers, maternity and paternity leave, and services supporting safe pregnancies.
Unite is worried the boss-friendly government's plans for new parental leave arrangements - due to be published in a new Bill, possibly as early as next week - will not protect pregnant women and new mothers.
Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said: "The coalition government has a lot to answer for - its policies and public funding cuts are bearing down heaviest on women and now it wants to cut maternity leave.
"Unite fears that the plans will ride roughshod over a mother's employment rights.
"Employers must understand that discriminating against pregnant women and new mothers will never be tolerated.
"The record numbers of women who have contacted the union will now know their rights with the guidelines providing clear advice."
Unite national equality officer Siobhan Endean said: "Instead of this discriminatory Bill, Unite is calling on the government to bring in specific measures to tackle maternity discrimination.
"We also want the government to reserve the first 26 weeks of maternity leave for mothers to reduce pressure on women to return early for the convenience of their employers."
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