Nestlé launches Maternity Protection Policy for employees worldwide

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Nestlé launches Maternity Protection Policy for employees worldwide

Nestlé has launched a global Maternity Protection Policy for its employees worldwide that is estimated to be one of the most progressive programmes of its kind in the industry.

The policy, which is based on the ILO Maternity Protection Convention, establishes minimum standards that must be implemented at Nestlé workplaces across the world by 2018.

The policy gives employees a minimum of 14 weeks paid maternity leave and the right to extend their maternity leave up to six months. This will be applicable to all primary caregivers of newborns, including male employees and adoptive parents.

It also includes employment protection, flexible working arrangements and guaranteed access to breastfeeding rooms during working hours in head offices and sites with more than 50 female employees. Nestlé currently has more than 190 breastfeeding rooms across its global working facilities.

Peter Vogt, Deputy Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for Nestlé S.A. said: “This policy will help us better support mothers and their families in our sites across the world and reinforces our support for exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of a child’s life.” 

Watch Paul Bulcke’s interview with Fortune Magazine, where he discusses Nestlé’s new Maternity Protection Policy (pdf, 1Mb), and learn more about the company’s commitment to enhance gender balance in its workforce.

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A toolkit nutrition security and maternity protection through exclusive and continued breastfeeding promotion in the workplace

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A toolkit nutrition security and maternity protection through exclusive and continued breastfeeding promotion in the workplace

The toolkit was developed based from the experience of partner organizations in the implementation of the NSMP Programme. The instruments and resource materials developed through the Programme were packaged in this toolkit to serve as useful guide to promote exclusive and continued breastfeeding in the workplace.

Provision of workplace support to breastfeeding mothers is one of the core elements of Convention No. 183, which promotes maternity protection measures to ensure that women’s right to provide the best possible care for their newborn and young children does not interfere with their economic security and that expectant and nursing mothers are given proper health protection at work, quality maternal and child health care, adequate time to give birth, to recover and to nurse their children. In addition, Convention No. 156 and its accompanying Recommendation No. 165, promotes the creation of effective work-family policies and measures so that both women and men workers can reconcile the often conflicting demands of paid work and their care responsibilities at home. The instruments and resource materials developed through the Programme were put together and packaged in this Toolkit to serve as useful guide in efforts to promote exclusive and continued breastfeeding in the workplace and to provide needed services.

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Maternity cash benefits for workers in the informal economy

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Maternity cash benefits for workers in the informal economy

Low coverage of maternity protection

Because of economic pressures and the lack of income security, most women workers in the informal economy cannot afford to significantly reduce their workload, in- cluding unpaid household and care work, before and af- ter childbirth. As a consequence, many continue engag- ing in work activities too far into pregnancy or start working too soon after childbirth, and expose themselves and their children to significant health risks (ILO, 2013; 2010; 2007).

Maternity benefit schemes providing income security are a core component of maternity protection. However, they still cover a minority of women: in fact, only 28 per cent of those in employment, often wage and salaried workers in the formal economy, are effectively protected by cash benefits in the event of maternity (ILO, 2014a) . Thus, certain categories of workers are often excluded, includ- ing own-account and contributing family workers, espe- cially in rural areas, employees holding informal jobs, do- mestic workers, casual and home workers. Also women who perform unpaid household and care work as their primary activity need protection around childbirth.

Workers in the informal economy are particularly vulner- able to the risks of income insecurity and ill health be- cause of unsafe and insecure working conditions, often low and volatile incomes, dispersed workplaces with lim- ited access to public services and a lack of representa- tion in collective bargaining processes (Lund, 2012).

Developmental benefits of maternity protection

Maternity protection is essential to promote the health, nutrition and well-being of mothers and their children, to achieve gender equality at work, prevent and reduce pov- erty and to advance decent work for both women and men. This makes maternity protection the first key step of the comprehensive set of care policies that promote women’s economic empowerment, prevent informaliza- tion and enable individuals and societies to thrive, espe- cially in the context of demographic transitions. It in- creases the chances of survival of the mother and the newborn and lays the conditions for optimal physical and cognitive development of the infant. Without maternity protection, women may shift into lower-paid and more insecure work in order to breastfeed and care for their infants. While they initially consider it a temporary cop- ing strategy, women with children are likely to stay in the informal economy as they juggle childcare and earning an income (Alfers, 2016). Maternity protection therefore contributes to the achievement of multiple Sustainable Development Goals (namely goals 1, 3, 5, 8 and 10) and

is a key component of the transformative policies called for in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Adequate maternity protection protects women from eco- nomic losses, gender discrimination and health risks re- lated to maternity in a comprehensive way. Specific measures include paid maternity leave, maternal and child health care, employment protection and non-dis- crimination, health protection at the workplace for preg- nant and nursing women and breastfeeding arrange- ments at work.

In particular, income security is essential to enable women to rest and recover before and after childbirth and establish breastfeeding, to prevent health risks for women and their children and to protect women from in- come losses during this critical period. Paid maternity leave is thus a core element of social protection systems alongside other adequate benefits in cash and in kind, including effective access to quality health care services for all (ILO, 2014a; 2014b). Yet, estimates suggest that over 800 million women workers are lacking income se- curity as a result of maternity (ILO, 2014a; see Figure 1). Many of these unprotected women are in the informal economy, and most of them live in developing countries.

Unless coverage of maternity cash benefit schemes is ex- tended to women workers in the informal economy through adequate measures that take into account their

characteristics, circumstances and needs, the large ma- jority of women workers will continue lacking effective access to maternity care and income security during and after pregnancy.

An increasing number of countries are developing strat- egies to extend maternity benefits coverage to women in the informal economy, although more efforts are neces- sary for universal protection. The outcome of such an in- vestment will contribute tremendously to enhancing ma- ternal and child health, ensuring adequate nutrition, eliminating poverty, as well as achieving gender equality and decent work in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. 

 

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 Maternity protection at workplaces enhances productivity

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Maternity protection at workplaces enhances productivity

A study of International Labour Organisation (ILO) says maternity protection at workplaces enhances productivity, reports BSS. Maternity Protection and Work-Family Specialist of ILO Lora Adet said maternity protection at workplaces bring positive results for small and medium organisations. According to the ILO study, maternity leave with full pay is compulsory in 25 per cent of 185 countries, including Bangladesh. In 16 per cent countries, the employers gave partial benefits during the maternity. Currently, the duration of maternity leave in Bangladesh is 24 weeks or six months. The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina increased the maternity leave from four months to six months for welfare of mothers and children through a gazette notification in January 2011. The ILO study says increase in facilities during maternity results in rise in production, particularly in service-oriented organisa-tions. This keeps working women fit physically and mentally, which is beneficial for both the employees and the employers. In Bangladesh, there are day-care centres at Bangladesh Secretariat in Dhaka and district headquarters for the children of women in public services. It is very essential for setting up day-care centres for children of female garment workers, who are the majority in country's labour market.

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Maternity protection makes headway amid vast global gaps

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Maternity protection makes headway amid vast global gaps

Despite progress in maternity benefits and a trend supporting paternity leave, an ILO report finds most women around the world are still not protected at work.

GENEVA (ILO News) – Most countries have adopted maternity protection provisions since 1919, when the ILO adopted the first Maternity Protection Convention, yet at least 830 million women workers still don’t have adequate protection, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said in a new report.

In its report, Maternity and Paternity at Work: Law and practice across the world , the ILO said 66 countries out of 185 countries and territories have committed to at least one of three maternity protection Conventions adopted in 1919 1952  and in 2000 .

These Conventions stipulate the prevention of exposure to health and safety hazards during pregnancy and nursing, entitlement to paid maternity leave, maternal and child health and breastfeeding breaks, and protection against discrimination and dismissal in relation to maternity, as well as a guaranteed right to return to work after maternity leave.
 

KEY FACTS AND FIGURES

  • 66 out of 185 countries and territories have ratified at least one of the three ILO maternity protection Conventions.
  • 53 per cent (98 countries) meet the ILO standard of at least 14 weeks maternity leave.
  • 58 per cent (107 countries) now finance maternity leave cash benefits through social security. Between 1994 and 2013 financing of cash benefits through employer liability fell from 33 to 25 per cent.
  • A large majority of women workers, around 830 million, are not adequately covered in practice, mainly in developing countries.
  • 45 per cent (74 countries) provide cash benefits of at least two-thirds of earnings for at least 14 weeks – an overall increase of 3 per cent since the last ILO review in 2010.
  • A statutory right to paternity leave is found in 78 of the 167 countries. Leave is paid in 70 of these, underlining the trend of greater involvement of fathers around childbirth. In 1994, paternity leave existed in 40 of 141 countries with available data.
  • 75 per cent (121 countries out of 160) provide for daily nursing breaks after maternity leave.

The report compares national laws in 185 countries and territories with the most recent ILO standards. 

“While our findings suggest that many countries have adopted the principles of maternity protection and support workers with family responsibilities in their laws, lack of protection in practice remains one of the major challenges for maternity and paternity at work today,” said the report’s co-author, Laura Addati, Maternity Protection and Work-family Specialist from the ILO’s Gender, Equality and Diversity Branch.

Regarding health and safety, 111 out of 160 countries have laws on dangerous or unhealthy work affecting pregnant or nursing women and 78 set out explicit prohibitions against such work. 


Positive shift in length of leave

In terms of maternity leave, no country has cut its length since 1994 and there has been a gradual shift towards leave periods that meet or exceed the 14-week ILO standard.

Only two of 185 countries and territories provide no statutory cash benefits during maternity leave and more than 100 countries now finance benefits through social security, reducing employers’ contribution. 

When it comes to discrimination protection, all but 20 of 165 countries had explicit prohibitions against discrimination during pregnancy and leave. 
 

Exclusions from protection

Despite overall strides, maternity discrimination persists in all countries, the report said. Around the world, most women, numbering around 830 million workers, still do not have adequate maternity protection in terms of leave and income security around childbirth. 

Almost 80 per cent of these women work in Africa and Asia where some groups of workers are excluded from protection in law and in practice. This is often the case for self-employed, migrant, domestic, agricultural, casual or temporary workers, and indigenous and tribal peoples.

These are also the regions where employer liability schemes are more prevalent, informal work is predominant and maternal and child mortality ratios are still very high.
“In order to have gender equality, you must have maternity protection. And if you don’t have equality at home, it will be an uphill battle to have it at work. That’s where paternity benefits, childcare and other work-family policies come in,” said Shauna Olney, Chief of the ILO Gender, Equality and Diversity Branch.
 

Upswing in paternity support

In addition to maternity protection legislation, many countries also have measures to support working fathers. 

Of 167 countries studied, 78 stipulate a statutory right to paternity leave, which is often paid, underlining the trend of fathers’ greater involvement around childbirth. 

Leave provisions for fathers are most common in developed economies, Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Paternity leave is paid in 70 out of 78 countries where there is entitlement. 
 

Next steps

The report urges governments to adopt and implement inclusive laws and policies for effective protection, noting that assessing gaps in current frameworks is a first step.

However, the report recommends that employers should not have to bear the full cost of benefits: “Pooling resources through social insurance or public funds and social care services takes the weight off employers and it also promotes non-discrimination at work,” said Olney. 
 

KEY POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Make maternity protection and work-family measures universal and make eligibility criteria inclusive.
  • Provide essential maternal health and income security around childbirth as part of basic social security guarantees.
  • Prevent and eliminate discrimination against women and men with family responsibilities, including through labour inspection and compliance services.
  • Reduce cost of maternity benefits on employers via collective pooling through social insurance or public funds.
  • Create a supportive workplace culture by extending options for work-life balance, such as flexible work arrangements, to all employees.
  • Support gender equality through the provision of high-quality, affordable and accessible childcare services.
  • Enable the equal sharing of family responsibilities between women and men.

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Maternity protection – A large majority of women workers, around 830 million, are not adequately covered in practice, mainly in developing countries

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Maternity protection – A large majority of women workers, around 830 million, are not adequately covered in practice, mainly in developing countries

Maternity protection – A large majority of women workers, around 830 million, are not adequately covered in practice, mainly in developing countries

POSTED BY MICHEL COURNOYER ⋅ JULY 18, 2014 ⋅ 1 COMMENT

FILED UNDER  ILOINTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATIONMATERNITYPARENTAL LEAVE

Most countries have adopted maternity protection provisions since 1919, when the ILO adopted the first Maternity Protection Convention, yet at least 830 million women workers still don’t have adequate protection, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said in a new report.

In its report, Maternity and Paternity at Work: Law and practice across the world, the ILO said 66 countries out of 185 countries and territories have committed to at least one of three maternity protection Conventions adopted in 1919, 1952 and in 2000.

These Conventions stipulate the prevention of exposure to health and safety hazards during pregnancy and nursing, entitlement to paid maternity leave, maternal and child health and breastfeeding breaks, and protection against discrimination and dismissal in relation to maternity, as well as a guaranteed right to return to work after maternity leave.

KEY FACTS AND FIGURES

  • 66 out of 185 countries and territories have ratified at least one of the three ILO maternity protection Conventions.
  • 53 per cent (98 countries) meet the ILO standard of at least 14 weeks maternity leave.
  • 58 per cent (107 countries) now finance maternity leave cash benefits through social security. Between 1994 and 2013 financing of cash benefits through employer liability fell from 33 to 25 per cent.
  • A large majority of women workers, around 830 million, are not adequately covered in practice, mainly in developing countries.
  • 45 per cent (74 countries) provide cash benefits of at least two-thirds of earnings for at least 14 weeks – an overall increase of 3 per cent since the last ILO review in 2010.
  • A statutory right to paternity leave is found in 78 of the 167 countries. Leave is paid in 70 of these, underlining the trend of greater involvement of fathers around childbirth. In 1994, paternity leave existed in 40 of 141 countries with available data.
  • 75 per cent (121 countries out of 160) provide for daily nursing breaks after maternity leave.

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Women’s work: mothers, children and the global childcare crisis

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Women’s work: mothers, children and the global childcare crisis

Research reports and studies

March 2016

Emma Samman, Elizabeth Presler-Marshall and Nicola Jones with Tanvi BhatkalClaire Melamed, Maria Stavropoulou and John Wallace

 

The world is facing a hidden crisis in childcare, leaving millions of children without the support they need, with damaging consequences for their futures. It is also having severe impacts on three generations of women – on mothers, grandmothers and daughters. 

There are 671 million children under five in the world today. Given labour force participation rates that exceed 60% globally, a large number of these children need some sort of non-parental care during the day. Early childhood care and education programming is not managing to match this need. At most, half of three- to five-year-old children in developing countries participate in some form of early childhood education, typically for a few hours daily. We know very little about what is happening to the rest, but all the evidence points to a crisis of care. That crisis is heavily concentrated among the poorest children with the most restricted access to early childhood support. There is an urgent need to solve the global care crisis to improve the lives of both women and children and to grow economies. 

This report explores current childcare policy failures across a range of case-studies, including Viet Nam, Gaza, Mexico, India and Ethiopia, and highlights examples of progress in countries which are successfully responding to these challenges. Based on these findings the authors make six key policy recommendations to extend and improve care-related labour market policies, promote more integrated approaches to social protection, and to invest in better data.

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Where do mothers get more leave?

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Where do mothers get more leave?


This information refers to the legal provisions on maternity leave –whether paid or unpaid - for singleton and uncomplicated childbirths as provided for by legislation at the national level for private sector workers. It does not cover the numerous provisions or exceptions that the law usually sets out for specific sectors, categories of workers or circumstances, such as for multiple births, illnesses and complications, single mothers or number of births, among others. For comparative purposes, duration in weeks and months as expressed in the national legislation has been converted into days, based on a seven-day week and a 30-day month. For more information, see Appendix II of "Maternity and Paternity at work: Law and practice across the world "

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Protecting pregnant workers’ rights in Lesotho

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Protecting pregnant workers’ rights in Lesotho

How the Better Work Programme of the ILO and the International Finance Cooperation (IFC) promotes decent work for young women in Lesotho’s garment industry.

MASERU, Lesotho (ILO News) – When 31-year-old Mamontseng Habahaba was pregnant with her third child, the quality control inspector at one of Lesotho’s 39 garment factories did not bother telling her supervisor. She figured she would just work until it was time to give birth, unaware of her rights as a pregnant factory worker. 

Into her second and third trimester, she struggled to stay on her feet for her nine-hour daytime shift, and though her pregnancy eventually became obvious, she was not provided a chair to sit on, nor did she dare to ask for one. 

“This is something that cannot be done in this factory,” Habahaba said. “If your work requires you to work standing, you have to work standing, even when you are pregnant.’’ 
 

If your work requires you to work standing, you have to work standing, even when you are pregnant."

Mamontseng Habahaba

Habahaba requested maternity leave when she was seven months pregnant, and she took her leave at the last possible moment, on 15 January 2014. Four days later, she gave birth prematurely to Molise Habahaba, a 3.6 kg baby boy named after his grandfather.  

Seven years earlier, Mamontseng Habahaba had quit her job at the same factory, unable to afford a nanny when she gave birth to her first child. This time, the family’s financial strain sent her back to work two months after Molise was born. 

What Habahaba knew from her supervisor and other colleagues at the factory was that she was allowed 12 weeks leave. What she did not yet know was that a law amended in October 2013 requires paid leave for six of those 12 weeks. When Habahaba returned to work, she was only given two weeks’ pay to cover the time she took off. What’s more, with an extra mouth to feed, she also began working overtime even though labour laws prohibit nursing mothers from taking extra hours. 

Habahaba said she did not know she was not supposed to work overtime. And only recently was she aware of the amended law on paid maternity leave. 

“We only knew some time ago and we lodged a complaint to our shop stewards and they are working on the issue,” Habahaba said. “However, the workers that came back from maternity leave after we lodged the complaint have been paid six weeks.’’ 

Promoting maternity benefits and rights

“Habahaba’s situation repeats itself at other apparel factories where pregnant workers face losing out on benefits entitled to them and rights that protect them in the workplace before and after giving birth. The issue is critical, not just in Lesotho, but across the world, where a majority of factory workers are of child-bearing age,” says Kristina Kurths, Programme Manager of Better Work in Lesotho. 

“With the majority of garment workers being young women, maternity rights at work are of great importance. In Lesotho, Better Work is striving to ensure that the needs and rights of pregnant workers are being met.” 
 

In Lesotho, Better Work is striving to ensure that the needs and rights of pregnant workers are being met."

Kristina Kurths, Programme Manager of Better Work in Lesotho

Better Work Lesotho  helps protect pregnant workers by offering maternity protection training as part of its Workers’ Life Skills Programme. Under this new initiative, human resource managers of factories are trained to understand and observe the law, and also train Peer Educators who in turn instructing their co-workers on maternity health issues. 

Drilling deeper into the issue, the Programme conducted a series of Workers Focus Group discussions with workers from 17 factories to help Better Work and the factories it works with better understand the unique needs of pregnant workers. 

“We learned that awareness regarding the rights and needs of pregnant workers remains low. In a number of factories, workers were not aware of the change in the law which increased paid maternity leave from two to six weeks. Pregnant workers are not always being accommodated at their jobs with lighter work loads, and are often not aware of the health and safety risks at their workplace that could harm their unborn child,” explains Kurths. 

What’s more, many workers report for duty one month after giving birth, worried about losing income by being home with their babies. 

Habahaba stayed with her baby for two months, though is now feeling the pinch of lost income. Her monthly earnings of 1080 Lesotho Lotis (about US$ 80 ) get chiseled away each month with the nanny she hired to care for her baby and her first child, while another M150 goes towards paying the rent, leaving a slim margin for Habahaba and her husband to cover food costs and other bills. 

“Factory improvements, such as a subsidised nursery on site, would help reduce the financial burden for working mothers of newborns,” Habahaba says. 

Better Work Lesotho therefore plans to deepen its work at the factory level among managers and workers so that employees like Habahaba are being better protected. Progress has already been made: as of late 2013, workers in a factory for one year or more are now entitled six weeks of paid maternity leave.  

“Maternity protection in the apparel industry workplace has been a long neglected topic.. We are working together with our partners – unions, employers and the government to strengthen the law and promote compliance with it. The Programme is a first step to creating decent work in Lesotho’s key industry which is part of the global garment supply chain,” concludes Kurths. 
 

Better Work Lesotho

Better Work Lesotho  is a partnership programme between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). In operation since May 2010, its ultimate goal is to reduce poverty by creating decent work opportunities in Lesotho’s garment industry. 

At the end of its first phase (December 2013), the Programme was able to reach out to 65% of garment industry workers and 84% of factories exporting to the United States.. It currently works with 15 garment factories and one footwear company who have subscribed to Better Work Lesotho services. It is funded by the US Department of Labor.
 

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ILO: More Than 800 Million Women Lack Maternity Protection

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ILO: More Than 800 Million Women Lack Maternity Protection

GENEVA—A new report by the International Labor Organization finds the large majority of women workers, at least 830 million, does not have adequate maternity protection and continue to face discrimination in the labor market.

Despite progress in maternity protection, ILO officials say motherhood remains a handicap for far too many working women.

ILO Gender, Equality and Diversity Branch Chief Shauna Olney says almost 80 percent of the 830 million women who lack maternity protection are in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

"The report also shows that some groups of workers, often female-dominated, are excluded entirely from protection in law and practice," she said. "We look at self-employed women, migrant, domestic, agricultural, casual and temporary workers, as well as indigenous and tribal workers."

The ILO has passed three conventions since 1919 that aim to protect pregnant and nursing mothers against health hazards at work, provide paid maternity leave, and protect women against discrimination and dismissal in relation to maternity. It says 66 out of 185 countries and territories have adopted at least one of these conventions.

The report also sees a gradual shift towards maternity leave periods that meet or exceed the 14-week ILO standard.

It finds only three countries in the world — the United States, Papua New Guinea and Oman — do not provide mandatory payments during maternity leave, but provide the right to voluntary unpaid maternity leave.

The ILO says the vast majority of countries explicitly prohibit discrimination during pregnancy and leave.

Report author, ILO Maternity Protection and Work-family Specialist Laura Addati, told VOA that society loses when it does not provide maternity protection.

"In terms of the consequences for societies that many women, one out of five of those who do not have access to family leave declare that their leave choice is to drop out of the labor force," she said. "This is an enormous waste of talents in terms of productivity and the role and contribution that women can make to society."

Addati also says working parents should have access to affordable child care services so women can return to work productively once their maternity leave ends.

The report says many countries are also taking measures to support working fathers, calling leave provisions for fathers most common in developed economies, Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In most instances, employers bear the full cost of benefits related to maternity and paternity leave.

The ILO recommends nations move away from employer liability and pay for maternity and paternity benefits through social insurance or public funds and social care services. It says taking this monetary weight off employers would promote non-discrimination at work.

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Maternity protection

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Maternity protection

Raising a family is a cherished goal for many working people. Yet pregnancy and maternity are an especially vulnerable time for working women and their families. Expectant and nursing mothers require special protection to prevent harm to their or their infants' health, and they need adequate time to give birth, to recover, and to nurse their children. At the same time, they also require protection to ensure that they will not lose their job simply because of pregnancy or maternity leave. Such protection not only ensures a woman's equal access to employment, it also ensures the continuation of often vital income which is necessary for the well-being of her entire family. 

Safeguarding the health of expectant and nursing mothers and protecting them from job discrimination is a precondition for achieving genuine equality of opportunity and treatment for men and women at work and enabling workers to raise families in conditions of security.

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