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What we fund – Maternity Action

Strategic legal action and advocacy to improve rights for low-income pregnant women and new mothers.

Funding snapshot

Programme area: Decent work

Amount: £104,000

Length of grant: 2022-2024

Impact goal: Improving access to rights for all workers.

Maternity Action

The challenge

Pregnant women and new mothers face numerous issues at work and relating to maternity pay. Many low-income women leave their jobs during pregnancy due to unsafe working conditions, for example. On top of this, the rapid rise in living costs hasn’t been matched by increases to maternity pay – which is equivalent to just 47% of the National Living Wage. Asylum support rates are also very low, leaving asylum seeking pregnant women and new mothers at risk of deep poverty.

The project

We fund Maternity Action to advocate for increased legal protections for pregnant women and new mothers in precarious employment, to increase maternity pay and benefits and to reduce pregnancy and maternity discrimination. This includes:

  1. Strategic legal action, using legal challenges to secure change for low-income women. For example, through high-profile court challenges Maternity Action contributed to an increase in asylum support rates, improving conditions for pregnant asylum seekers.
  2. Policy work and campaigning, such as against NHS maternity care charges and advocating for fair maternity pay.
  3. Collaborating with unions to reshape health and safety guidelines, and ensuring mandatory risk assessments for pregnant workers to improve workplace safety.
  4. Providing targeted advice and training to vulnerable groups – including migrant and asylum-seeking women – to help them navigate maternity rights.

In a difficult policy environment, strategic legal cases provided a route to secure vital wins for pregnant women and new mothers.

RosBragg photo medium[33]