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The government is making plans to boost protection for pregnant women and new parents returning to work.

The consultation, launched at the end of January, proposes that the legal protection against redundancy for pregnant women and new mothers on maternity leave is extended so that it continues for up to six months after they return to work. It will also seek views on affording the same protection to parents returning from adoption leave or shared parental leave.

However, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) believe that this shows a lack of support for UK’s self-employed.

FSB National Chairman, Mike Cherry, explained, “Once again the self-employed have been overlooked by this Government.

“While efforts to improve support for parents in the workplace are welcome, these efforts should include meaningful support for the self-employed. Sole traders who take the step into parenthood continue to be left out in the cold.

“Self-employed mothers are entitled to less statutory pay than their employee counterparts. Self-employed fathers are entitled to none at all.

“And – despite there being more than 1,000 children waiting on the adoption register, requiring expensive foster care placements – the Government provides no support for self-employed people who want to adopt.

“It’s estimated that bringing support for self-employed adopters in-line with self-employed mothers would only cost the exchequer around £5 million a year.

“The Government needs to spend more time thinking about our 4.8 million-strong self-employed community not just employees.”

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