New mothers return to work ‘difficult’

Many women find it tough going back to work after maternity leave, says a new survey

More than a third of mothers find the return to work after maternity leave ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’, according to a survey commissioned by NCT.

One in three mothers said ‘re-entry’ was easy, but many others said that their companies did little to help them settle back in, and that their relationship with their boss had deteriorated.

A third of the women interviewed said they believed their promotion prospects had been reduced, and 20 per cent had a lower pro-rata salary.

Nearly nine out of 10 of the women wanted to work flexibly when they returned to work. Yet despite now having the right to request this, one in six said their applications had gone nowhere.

The more generous maternity leave granted by the Labour government – women now can take a year off, with nine months paid – has been criticised recently, says the Times. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has questioned the disparity between maternity leave and the two weeks allowed for men. It has suggested this entrenches the idea of the woman as the childcarer, and makes women less attractive to hire.

Belinda Phipps, chief executive of the National Childbirth Trust, said employers should provide extra help for returning mothers. “Despite changes to the welfare system to encourage mothers to return to work, and a raft of legislation for employers, the reality is many still find returning to work an incredibly daunting and difficult experience,” she said.


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