Learn your pregnancy, maternity and paternity working rights at free Ipswich workshop on March 24

Audrey Ludwig, ISCREs director of legal services. Picture: Lucy Taylor

Audrey Ludwig, ISCREs director of legal services. Picture: Lucy Taylor

The number of new or expectant parents in Suffolk seeking help over workplace discrimination is on the up, sparking a charity to take action.

In 2015/2016 Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE) saw a 55% rise in pregnancy and maternity prejudice cases from the previous year; while Ipswich Citizens Advice has reported a 28% increase in clients with similar issues.

To address this need, ISCRE is putting on a free workshop in Rushmere St Andrew on March 24 for people to get to know their family-friendly employment rights.

It will cover key issues including: requesting time off for ante-natal and pregnancy-related appointments, taking adjustments to work duties during pregnancy, requesting paternity leave and zero hours contracts.

Audrey Ludwig, ISCRE’s director of legal services, said: “We have seen people who clearly didn’t know their rights to bringing a claim against their employer for discrimination, but had experienced it.

“We were concerned people were experiencing difficulties but didn’t know how to deal with it.”

The workshop is being held in Rushmere because there are a lot of young families in that area, Mrs Ludwig added.

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On a national level, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has recently published a report stating 77% of prospective and new mothers experienced discrimination this year compared to 45% 10 years ago.

However the EHRC revealed only 1% of women who suffered these problems took their case to an employment tribunal.

In 2015 new rules came into force in the UK allowing mothers and fathers to share parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child.

However, Mrs Ludwig said there had been a poor take up of these fresh rights, with many people finding the guidelines confusing.

The workshop is organised as part of ISCRE’s Tackling Discrimination in the East initiative, with funding from the North East Area Committee at Ipswich Borough Council and The Rope Trust.

It will take place from 10.30am to 2pm at Tower Hall, Broadlands Way, Rushmere St Andrew and is free to attend and open to all.

To book a place, see here.

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