The government is currently consulting on proposals to give more protection against redundancy for pregnant women and new parents when they return to work after having children.

If they’re employers or ‘workers’, pregnant women and new mothers already have protection against redundancy.

Under the Government’s new plans, their protection would start from the point when the employee informs the employer that she is pregnant, whether verbally or in writing.

The plans will extend their protection for an additional six months from the date of the mother’s return to work.

Under the proposals, the same protection would be offered to parents returning from adoption leave or shared parental leave, which would include men who take time out to care for a new child.

According to research by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, 54,000 women each year lose their job due to pregnancy or maternity leave.

The research suggested that one in nine women have been fired or made redundant after returning to work after having a child, or they were treated so badly that they felt forced out of their job.

Under UK law, women are entitled to up to 52 weeks of maternity leave, 39 weeks of which are paid.

There are also proposals for new leave entitlements for parents of sick and premature babies.

Hilary Hall, NHF/NBF chief executive said, “We know that many hair and beauty salons are struggling to recruit qualified and experienced staff.

“Most will welcome employees returning from maternity leave with open arms and will do everything they can to keep new mothers on the team.

“However, the regulations around maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave and shared parental leave are already complicated, especially for small businesses, so we encourage salons to seek expert advice.”