Poll Shows Discrimination Common For Women Returning From Maternity Leave

by wiredbarrister on April 5, 2013

Law firm Slater & Gordon has commissioned a report on maternity leave and the effects that it has on job safety. The shocking results show that around one in seven are made redundant while on maternity leave and that 40% of those surveyed saw their jobs changed while they were off. Even more, around a half, said that their hours were cut when they returned or they suffered some form of demotion. The firm said that a lot of new mothers and companies are settling out of court to avoid bad publicity.

Maternity Leave And Discrimination

For the poll, one thousand women were surveyed in the month of February and the results show a worrying number of women that have suffered following maternity leave. The Equal Opportunities Commission believes that following the recession the number of women that lost their jobs as a result of giving birth will have increased from the 30,000 that lost their jobs each year prior to the global financial mess. Head of Maternity Action, Rosalind Bragg, says that the numbers are likely to be significantly higher than reported because many women are not able to seek legal action.

The Survey Findings

One in seven women reported losing their job while on maternity leave. A lot of women were made redundant while off, and would have only been informed of the decision on their return. 40% said their jobs had changed when they did return and around 50% said that they experienced a reduction in hours or a demotion having completed their maternity leave. More than one in ten were replaced by the person that covered their work while on maternity leave.

Being Pushed Out

A common way that new mothers suffered was that they would return to work to find that their clients and workload had been passed to somebody else or shared out among the department. In a lot of cases they would not get those customers back. In the end, this could lead to companies and employers finding ways to get rid of the employee even though doing so is considered illegal.

The Effects Of Maternity Leave On New Mothers

30% of the new mothers surveyed said that they didn’t feel that they fit in ay more once they returned to work. 20% said that no one really understood the difficulties of juggling being a new mother with returning to their job and nearly 10% said that the stress of the situation had led to problems with their relationship with their partner. Despite this, only 10% had sought help from their HR department and only 3% had sought legal advice on their rights and what they could do.

Discrimination And The Law

New mothers are not allowed to be discriminated against for taking maternity leave and director Maternity Action, Rosalind Bragg, believes that while many women may not be aware of their rights, hence they would not seek legal advice, the biggest problem is a lack of money to be able to seek legal guidance, especially for those that work in low income jobs.

About This Article

This article has been written and published on behalf of BCL Legal.

Richard Hartley is a barrister, seo geek and Head of Strategy at the digital marketing agency, Big Red Rocket. He is also a member of Central Chambers in Manchester.

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