15 March 2017

A campaign to promote workplace rights for pregnant women and new mothers has reached a significant milestone.

Launched by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the Working Forward initiative has now attracted 100 businesses to its cause. The latest company to join the national coalition is Pets at Home, which joins a wide range of firms including Barclays, BT Group and Carillion.

Research shows that pregnancy and maternity discrimination and disadvantage at work affects some 390,000 pregnant women and new mothers each year.

Although the majority of employers say they are firm supporters of female staff during and after pregnancy, it is still the case that about three-quarters (77%) of mothers report having had a negative experience at work or being discriminated against.

In that context, Working Forward members aim to promote long-term positive change by signing up to action in at least two of the following four areas: demonstrating leadership from the top down; ensuring confident employees; training and supporting line managers; and offering flexible working practices.

Speaking for Pets at Home, Vicky Hill said that joining the Working Forward campaign will help the company to get even better at supporting its staff.

The company is looking forward to learning from other members of the initiative and from the EHRC about how it can further improve the lives of staff who are pregnant or new mothers, she added.

Other businesses that have signed up to the campaign include Danone, Ford, Mitie, Nationwide Building Society, Royal Mail and Sage. Further information about Working Forward can be found at http://bit.ly/2cmNpSG.