Pregnant women and new mothers are facing increasing levels of discrimination at work, according to a "concerning" new report from the Citizens Advice Bureau. Some have been forced out of their job while others are put on zero-hours contracts, or facing cuts in their hours, the charity said.
The number of people seeking advice on pregnancy related issues has risen by 25% in the last year, it said, adding that more than 22,000 people had visited its website.
Evidence given to the charity included new mothers being pressurised to cut their maternity leave short and return to work, while others were forced from their jobs.
One woman's employer cut her weekly hours after finding out she was pregnant and claimed there was not enough work available, while taking on new staff at the same time.
Calling the findings "concerning", Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said pregnant women should be "supported at work, not made to fear for their livelihood."
She said: "People with a baby on the way will have a lot on their minds already. The last thing they need is a threat to their income or job security. All employers should respect and uphold the rights of staff who are new parents or expecting a baby."
Kate Green, the shadow women and equalities minister, called the findings a "cause for alarm" and accused the government of failing to "put measures in places to protect mothers in the workplace."
"Under this Tory government it now costs up to £1,200 to bring a maternity discrimination claim to an employment tribunal," she said, adding that fewer women were now bringing forward claims as a result.
"The government must urgently outline its strategy to tackling this issue and reverse the alarming increase in levels of maternity discrimination on its watch," she said.