What SMEs need to know about maternity rights?

Liverpool social enterprise The Women’s Organisation and local law firm Morecrofts team up to offer free event for SMEs on maternity rights and responsibilities. Tony McDonough reports.

Women’s Health Strategy lead at The Women’s Org, Lisa McMullan


Women’s health in the workplace is at long last becoming a higher priority for UK businesses.

In 2022 the Government published its 10-year Women’s Health Strategy. It had a particular focus on the health and well-being of women at work, particularly in small and medium-sized employers (SMEs).

This represents real progress for Liverpool social enterprise, The Women’s Organisation, which has been pushing this issue, both locally and across the UK, for a number of years.

With support from the Department of Health and Social Care, The Women’s Organisation is one of 16 organisations tasked with addressing the issues raised in the Women’s Health Strategy, with a focus on women’s reproductive wellbeing in the workplace.

With this in mind, The Women’s Organisation is teaming up with Liverpool law firm Morecrofts to offer a free event for SMEs. This will tell them everything they need to know about maternity rights and responsibilities.

Taking place on Thursday, November 9, at The Women’s Organisation at 54 St James Street, the event is designed to help business owners and managers understand some of the key issues and employer responsibilities.

It will cover managing maternity leave and the rights of staff returning to work after maternity/paternity leave.

It will also discuss how employers can ensure that women are treated fairly, share good and poor practices, and promote practices that can help employees and SME employers achieve their full potential.

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Lasting 90 minutes and starting with coffee and refreshments at 9am, this session is led by Charles Millett, partner at Morecrofts and Lisa McMullan, project lead for Women’s Workplace Wellness at The Women’s Organisation.

Lisa says: “For too long the conversation about women’s health in the workplace has been stymied. It is incredibly important and impacts directly on businesses, as well as individuals, and we’re proud to be developing resources designed to help managers and founders support their teams to ensure women’s health is taking seriously in the workplace.

“From maternity to menstruation and menopause, and the implications on mental health, women have long had to endure unfair treatment in the workplace.

“The conversation has not been happening and this has led in many cases to women feeling that they have no choice but to leave their jobs, often at the pinnacle of their career. This is not good for anyone involved.”

The Women’s Health Strategy for England was published in 2021 following consultation undertaken by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHCS), which highlighted the gender health gap – a term used to describe poorer services and outcomes for women within healthcare in the UK.

Lisa continues: “If women are experiencing institutionalised sexism within the healthcare service, we can only imagine how this extends to the workplace.

“It is so important that women have a direct dialogue with their employers and have access to unbiased and uncomplicated advice. We would like to thank our partners at Morecrofts for helping to raise this issue and help employers engage in conversations about women’s health in the workplace.”

For more information or to register for this event click here.

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