THE law governing maternity rights for women at work is very complex, and the cause of much confusion among employers and employees alike. The Government, in its White Paper 'Fairness to Work', sets out how it plans to simplify the law, while other developments in the near future include the implementation of the Parental Leave Directive which will provide for three months parental leave for working parents, plus time off for urgent family reasons. At present the law relating to maternity rights is contained mainly in the Employment Rights Act 1996, but this area is also affected by sex discrimination, social security and health and safety legislation. Here, Wendy Brown answers some common questions on maternity rights, based on the law as it stands at present.
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