Pregnant employees and those on maternity leave are specifically protected from discrimination (as well as being protected under general sex discrimination rules) in the UK. The Government is due to launch a consultation on strengthening this protection in light of worrying research that discrimination is still rife in the workplace. Whilst it is prohibited in the UK to dismiss an employee because of  her pregnancy/maternity leave, if there are objective reasons which are unrelated, such as a genuine redundancy, a dismissal is possible (but carries a risk of a discrimination allegation).

In some jurisdictions, such as Hong Kong, there is an outright ban on terminating an employee who is pregnant or on maternity leave. In fact, to do so is a criminal offence with liability for up to HK$100,000 fine. Could the UK move towards something similar?