Employment Rights for Working Mums

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For many women the excitement of finding out they’re having a baby is followed by the worry of the impact of their pregnancy on their work.  It can be a time of uncertainty with many women having questions such as:

  • How and when do I tell my employer?
  • How might they react?
  • Will my career be affected?
  • What am I entitled to on maternity leave?

A report by The Equality and Human Rights Commission found that one in five new mums said they had experienced harassment or negative comments from their colleagues or boss when they were pregnant or returning from maternity leave.

This week’s podcast guest is Danielle Ayres.  Danielle is a senior solicitor at Gorvins Solicitors working in their Employment Law Team.  She advises individuals and businesses on employment relationships.   Danielle has carved out a niche as a pregnancy and maternity employment law expert.  She is now one of the go-to solicitors in the UK supporting working women and mums to challenge unfair treatment as a results of their pregnancy and/or maternity leave.

In this episode Danielle shares her experience and expertise on Employment Rights for Working Mums.

In this episode Danielle and I talk about:

  • How a chance situation early in her career influenced her career path [3:20]
  • How it was only when she became a mum that she realised the issue of pregnancy discrimination and felt compelled to create a place for women to go if they needed advice [6:30]
  • How she started the ‘Keeping Mum’ campaign with her employer Gorvins Solicitors [7:38]
  • Her work in advising employers to manage pregnancy, maternity leave and returning better [8:34]
  • How her support via SureStart was the start of something huge and led her to meet Joeli Brearley from Pregnant Then Screwed [9:04]
  • What led her to launch a free legal advice line for women facing discrimination [10:38]
  • The demand for pregnancy and maternity discrimination led her to specialise in this area [11:40]
  • The common challenges that she helps people with [13:-5]
  • How one of her clients,  on her first day back after maternity leave, discovered she had no job [13:58]
  • The response from one client’s employers when she told them she was pregnant [15:45]
  • How many employers want to manage a pregnant employee properly but often don’t have enough support or information [16:55]
  • Advice for someone when they find out they’re pregnant and need to tell their employer [21:05]
  • The advice she would offer to those that feel that they could be on the receiving end of an unhelpful response from their employer [23:02]
  • How communication is the key to managing the employer/employee relationship [26:00]
  • Where to get advice and support when you’re pregnant or on maternity leave [30:15]
  • How many women don’t realise they are experiencing discrimination until it gets really serious [33:10]
  • How she combines her own work and motherhood [33:50]
  • The biggest struggle she has as a working mum [37:03]
  • The experience with her own children that made her cry [38:25]
  • The one thing that she recommends any women does [38:45]
  • The mentor scheme that exists for anyone going through a maternity discrimination tribunal [41:20]
  • The dedicated advice line for flexible working [41:42]

Links in this episode:

Gorvins Solicitors

Danielle’s twitter account  

Danielle’s Instagram account

Pregnant Then Screwed 

For advice and support:

Pregnant Then Screwed

Citizens Advice

Maternity Action

Working Mums

Working Families

ACAS

Keeping Mum (Manchester region)

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