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Four in ten women find returning to work after maternity leave difficult


Lawson-West Solicitors - Expert Author

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Issued 2nd December 2009

Research by the National Childbirth Trust, surveying 1500 mothers who have recently returned to work after maternity leave, found that four in ten women said they found going back to work after having a baby ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’. One third felt their promotion prospects had been reduced since maternity leave and one in seven said they had reduced seniority since returning after having a baby.

The National Childbirth Trust found that 88% of mothers wanted to work flexibly on their return after maternity leave, but 16% of those surveyed said their request for flexible working had gone nowhere. The National Childbirth Trust commented that employers need to be “better at making mothers feel welcome when they return to work – it’s about understanding and respect, not just processes.”

During maternity leave employees are entitled to receive notification of promotion opportunities, redundancy situations and receive any pay increases they would normally be entitled to. Employees on maternity leave are also entitled to up to ten Keeping in Touch days. However, employees on maternity leave can choose not to go into work for Keeping in Touch days and employers cannot demand employees come into work. Employers, however, are entitled to make reasonable contact with employees on maternity leave.

On returning from maternity leave, employees are entitled to return to the same job on the same terms and conditions of employment or a suitable job on terms and conditions at least as good as the job an employee was doing before maternity leave it if is not possible for them to return to the same job.

Employees returning from maternity leave do have the right to request flexible working. Requests for flexible working do not have to be agreed by employers if there is a sound business reason for not doing so. If an employee requests to return on a part-time basis after maternity leave due to childcare commitments and that request is refused, the employee may have a claim for indirect sex discrimination because statistically women usually take the primary childcare role so any requirement on employees to work full-time on return from maternity leave where it cannot be justified would put the employee at a disadvantage.

For More information please contact specialist employment solicitor Ashley Hunt on 0116 212 1000 or email: You can also complete one of the on-line forms.

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Lawson-West specialise in commercial, business and employment law. Our team of dedicated commercial solicitors can help with buying or selling a business, business law and disputes, landlord and tenant issues and commercial property. Our expert employment team can offer practical advice and guidance on all aspects of employment law including redundancy, compromise agreements and dismissal procedures. Visit for more information.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-12-11 15:52:01 in Legal Articles

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