Longer maternity leave ‘damaging careers’

Longer maternity leave 'damaging careers'

The extension of maternity leave is damaging women’s careers, according to the head of a new equality watchdog.

Now that women are entitled to a year’s maternity leave for each child, Nicola Brewer of the Equalities and Rights Commission, said employers were reconsidering offering them jobs or promotion.

Ms Brewer’s fears were highlighted when Sir Alan Sugar said many employers threw away CVs from women who were likely to start a family.

Recent plans to give parents further rights by offering flexi-time until their oldest child is 16 could aggravate the problem, Ms Brewer said.

‘There has been a sea change on maternity leave and flexible work and we welcome that. But the effect has been to reinforce some traditional patterns,’ she said.

‘The Work and Families Act has not freed parents and given them real choice. It is based on assumptions, and some of the terms reinforce the traditional pattern of women as the carers of children.’

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