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Your Entitlement to a Hot Potato

Rights, entitlements, liberties and equalities; all terms we are familiar with in Western society.Legislation and legal charters dating as far back as the Magna Carter, have ensured that all members of society – from ordinary labourers to kings and queens – are bound by the law of the land.

But with our modern-day, hectic lifestyles, we are less concerned with how much it costs taxpayers to feed the Queen’s corgis, and more concerned with our personal welfare.

A recent hot potato in the media has been the issue of equality in the workplace; in particular, whether society has become too “generous” in respect to the maternity rights of female employees.

‘Ahh, a Battle of the Sexes!’ I hear you cry… surprisingly not! As Jill Berry, president of the Girls Schools Association, aptly stated in an article in the Telegraph last week, ...women can be hard judges of each other...

Some women have criticised me in a way that men wouldn’t dare.’ Both men and women alike have expressed their support, and indeed opposition, to the increasing rights for the new mums of Britain.

On one side of the firing line are those who feel that expecting and new mothers are still discriminated against because of their "choice” to start a family; the amount of time provided by the employer for antenatal care; a woman’s Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) etc. etc..

On the other side, you have those who feel that both the current rights, and the recently proposed legislation aimed at giving women more maternity leave, are having a detrimental impact and actually encouraging discrimination.

Although unlawful, some employers may decide that it is more appealing to go for the guy over the gal, which somehow doesn’t seem to equate to equality in the work place, does it?

Whether you’re in favour or against the new developments in maternity rights, it’s always good to know where you and / or your company stands in terms of the rights of both men and women in the workplace.

By: Darry Khajehpour

Russell HR Consulting provides expert knowledge in HR solutions, employment law training and HR tools and resources to businesses across the UK.

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