The protected characteristic of Pregnancy and Maternity, as defined by the Equality Act 2012, only refers to women who are pregnant, have given birth within the last 6 months or are on maternity leave. The Act primarily protects women from discrimination in employment. This is relevant to RYA Training Centres, Clubs or Class Associations employing or contracting self-employed female instructors or coaches. These organisations should have policies in place to enable an instructor or coach who is pregnant to continue to work for as long as she wishes and is reasonably practicable during her pregnancy, whilst minimising the risks to the health and safety of the woman, her baby and others.
From a club's point of view, it is worth considering not only the need to avoid direct discrimination under the Act, but also wider measures that might help both mothers and fathers with young children to continue to participate in boating, at a time when their time and finances are likely to be under pressure. There is a very noticeable drop in participation in the 25-45 age group, although many people return to the sport as their children get older.
The RYA is developing guidance for clubs on operating a crèche, a link will be added to this page when the guidance has been finalised.
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