Maternity Alliance gives free advice to pregnant women about maternity rights.
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Emma Howard: Now, we all know combining motherhood and work can be a real juggling act and for many women having a baby come out in the end of their career with some employees effectively forcing the mothers from the work place. Well, with me to discuss this is Nancy Platts who’s the Director of the Maternity Alliance, which is a national charity that gives free advice to women expecting a baby or who’ve already have them about their rights. Also with us is Justine Neale, a mom of two who’s employer made every effort to accommodate her when she had her children. So, a good new story there, Justine. We’ll hear more about that in a minute. First of all Nancy, it’s clear that we just don’t know our rights, do we? We have so many women calling you, thousands of women calling you, looking you up on the website. We really don’t know what we can encounter. Nancy Platts: Absolutely, many people don’t know what their rights are and they often leave it too late before they call us as well. I mean our daily what we want us for people to stop bringing us quite early on maybe when they’re already pregnant so think about getting pregnant and then we can start to perhaps going through a check list of what the entitled to, what they should be thinking about, what they should be talking with their employees with us. Emma Howard: And what is the Maternity Alliance all about because you really talked to them about the whole range of things that from them your pregnant right through to come back to work or staying at work? Nancy Platts: Yes, we were set up around 25 years ago. So as you can see the purpose have been around for quite sometime and still not quite solved and we exist really just to give advice to women whether they’re at work or even if they are not at work but rights and benefits. So what kind of money and financial support they can claim and what they’re employment rise on so they’ve got some kind of back up when they talk to their employer. Emma Howard: And do you find that women are talking to you about one worry in particular or you’re just getting everybody at every stage? Nancy Platts: It could be at all kind of things. To some women were worrying and say, I’m pregnant. What’s the right time to tell my employer? They really worry about getting the timing line and often people don’t want to say anything to employer, within the first three months of being pregnant. Summing up, because perhaps made redundant or they’ve been sanctioned to the fact that they’re pregnant. They want to know what they can do about it and then you’ve got a whole range of things in between that just mainly asking for financial advice. How can they get access to rights and benefits and some kind of financial support? Emma Howard: What was the first thing you asked them? What’s the first thing they’ll get you hand out? Nancy Platts: All kinds of things really depending on the problem but we’ll often ask them if there any trade union because you then can offer some financial support and help if you had to go to the extreme which should be an employment tribunal if you can't solve your problem because we can just give people verbal advice. We can give some bit information but we can't take them right through the process. Emma Howard: You have a big financial back up? Nancy Platts: Unfortunately, we haven’t. Emma Howard: The sad truth these days that so many thousands of women don’t belong to Trade Unions and they work for the small companies so they need you more than ever really. Nancy Platts: They do and I think unions could do more to trans- sell themselves to women and say look, we are here and we can support you but women do need to be in a union before they’re getting pregnant because otherwise, it’s no good waiting until the last minute when you’ve got a problem before deciding to join a union and if you’re already in, they will, support you right through. I think it’s really, really important as many women as possible do claim what they’re entitle