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Working mums struggle after maternity leave

1 May 2018

Working mums struggle after maternity leaveThere are more working mums than ever, but many are still struggling to juggle work and childcare, according to a new report.

The proportion of working-age mothers with a job has risen significantly in the past four decades - from 50% in 1975 to 72% in 2015, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

However, a new report - From Career Woman to Working Mum - produced by Mums Enterprise, reveals that getting the right balance is still challenging for many working mothers.

Its survey of 1,000 working mums has found that 47% have not experienced any discrimination in the workplace during or after their maternity leave. However, it found that:

  • 24% have had a flexible work request denied;
  • 18% have returned to a different role;
  • 5% of these were lower paid;
  • 15% have been passed over for promotion;
  • 8% of those polled have been made redundant while on maternity leave.

Data from the report shows how stressful it is for women as they return to work after maternity - 61% of women are happy or very happy during maternity leave with their baby; however only 24% are happy or very happy at the point at which they have to decide what to do after maternity leave.

Eight in ten working mums (81%) said they thought about making a change while on maternity leave; however, only 42% went on to alter their working arrangements. The most common changes were agreeing more flexible hours, moving to part-time work, changing roles and taking a career break.

Lucy Chaplin, creative director of Mums Enterprise, said: "Too many women are still suffering in silence and we need to work together to drive change across the UK. I hope that this report will draw attention to the plight of professional mums who have worked hard to get somewhere, only to lose confidence and feel guilty when they have children and that businesses will recognise that more flexible working patterns could make millions of workers happier and more productive and help them retain talent."

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