A survey of women who contacted the advice line of the Greater Manchester Low Pay Unit about maternity rights, has found that often employers perceive women workers who become pregnant as a burden. The hostile treatment of pregnant women ranged from a change in attitude which singled pregnant women out as being a problem, to more overtly unlawful behaviour such as denial of time off for ante-natal care or even dismissal. A survey of the views and opinions of over 400 workers who had contacted the advice line of the Greater Manchester Low Pay Unit, has revealed that whilst workers have a number of new statutory rights they face enormous difficulties in exercising their rights.
The Greater Manchester Low Pay Unit has published a report assessing the impact and effectiveness of the Working Time Regulations six months after the regulations came into force. The report is based on over 400 cases gathered from the advice line of the Greater Manchester Low Pay Unit and from 19 Citizens Advice Bureaux in the North West. The report reveals that large numbers of workers are still not fully receiving their statutory rights. The complexities of the regulations have led to widespread confusion and mis-interpretation. Included in the report are recommendations to national government which would ensure fairer and more effective operation of the Working Time Regulations.
Further, we believe that the Government should not only ensure that workers have access to information but also enable the enforcement of employment rights. We think that offering a new advice service is one step in the right direction, but that ultimately the problem can only be solved by the Government establishing new enforcement mechanisms in the form of a Labour or Employment Inspectorate.The Inspectorate should have the right to enter and inspect any workplace whilst maintaining the anonymity of workers and impose penalties in the case of non-compliance. We believe that such measures would have a significant impact on the number of claims lodged at Employment Tribunal.
We are interested in working share our ideas with any agency who is interested in developing their own projects that have an employment rights/awareness aspect to them. If you are interested in discussing this further please contact Allison@gmemploymentrights.org.uk.
0161 123 3762
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