Welsh Government pledge to Working Forward on pregnancy and maternity rights at work

Published: 31 Aug 2017

The Welsh Government has committed to take action to attract, develop and retain women at work and make their workplace the best it can be, by signing up to the Commission’s coalition of Working Forward employers.

Shan Morgan, Permanent Secretary of the Welsh Government, said:

“I’m very pleased Welsh Government is pledging to Working Forward on pregnancy and maternity rights. I think this is a really important initiative. We have already made a number of positive changes including enabling women to retain IT equipment such as mobile phones and laptops during their maternity leave to enable them to have a smooth transition on their return as well as improving our financial arrangements to ensure there is greater flexibility to fund maternity leave cover. Through our diversity and inclusion action plan we are committed to supporting women through pregnancy, maternity leave and their return to work.

“This is part of our responsibility as a good employer and makes sure that women returning to work in the Welsh Government can prosper and maximise their contribution.”

June Milligan, Commissioner and Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Wales Committee, said:

“We are delighted the Welsh Government has committed to take action to attract, develop and retain women in the workplace as part of Working Forward. The Welsh Government becomes one of over 150 organisations making this commitment, including other significant public and private sector employers in Wales. This step responds to the Commission's workplace research and the evidence of what action can be taken to ensure women’s talent is nurtured and valued.”

Working Forward, established by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, follows its landmark research which shows pregnancy and maternity discrimination and disadvantage at work affects around 390,000 pregnant women and new mothers across Britain each year.

It highlights that, while the majority of Welsh employers (87 per cent) say they are firm supporters of female staff during and after pregnancy and find it easy to comply with the law, 71 per cent of mothers say they have had a negative or possibly discriminatory experience at work.

Members, which include large and small employers from across the private and public sector, help to drive long-term cultural change by signing up to action in at least 2 areas, including:

  • demonstrating leadership from the top down
  • ensuring confident employees
  • training and supporting line managers
  • offering flexible working practices

Over 150 organisations throughout Britain are members of Working Forward. Welsh employers include: Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board, BT, Cardiff University Business School, Carmarthenshire County Council, Coleg y Cymoedd, Deloitte, Dwr Cymru, Dyfed Powys Police, Ford, Legal & General, NPT Colleges, QLS, South Wales Police and Wales and West Utilities.

Working Forward offers members resources and materials to suit business needs and the chance to become part of a growing community of members, sharing tips, advice and knowledge to make experiences better for pregnant women and new mothers .

Find out more about Working Forward

Press contact details

For more press information contact the Commission in Wales' media office on 07843 325 231.