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Despite the royal pregnancy, maternity discrimination is still rife in Britain

By Principal Lawyer, Employment & Partnership

We may have just had the birth of a Royal baby, but while The Duchess of Cambridge won’t need to worry about how her new arrival is likely to impact on her career, millions of women across the UK are still facing archaic attitudes and policies from the workplace during and post pregnancy.

More than a quarter of mothers feel they have been actively discriminated against in the workplace whilst pregnant or on their return to work after having a baby, while two thirds of mothers would advise pregnant women to wait until the last possible moment to tell their bosses they are expecting.

New research we have released today questioned mothers on how they were treated both pre and post the birth of their children in the workplace and saw more than half of women say their boss’s attitude towards them changed when they got pregnant.

Almost a third say they weren’t treated well by their work during pregnancy and maternity leave, while almost half were overlooked for a promotion. Almost a fifth were demoted, while more than a third had responsibility taken off them.

The report by Slater and Gordon saw close to 60% of mothers agree that they felt like their pregnancy was a problem for their workplace, while more than a quarter felt under pressure to return to work earlier than they wanted to.

On their return however, a third have found it impossible to climb the career ladder after having a child.  The stats reveal a distressing picture:

  • More than a fifth feel they can’t go for a promotion because of their commitments as a mother
  • One in five don’t feel as valued in their role as they were before becoming pregnant
  • Almost a quarter feel out of the loop about what’s going on
  • More than one in eight not feeling as much a part of the team as they used to
  • Half of those surveyed feel that they are left out or not taken seriously at work since having children
  • Over 40% saying younger people with no children are more supported and given more encouragement than them.

However, despite these widespread issues, 70% of mothers have never made a formal complaint about unfair treatment. 

We keep being told this Royal baby is a good news story. Well, if it encourages a shift in perception to help rid working mums of the discrimination still so sadly experience, that would be good news.

By Employment Solicitor Samantha Mangwana.

'Slater and Gordon commission report on maternity issues in the workplace' - read details of our previous report commissioned in July 2013.

Read more about Maternity Discrimination, Flexible Working and Family Leave.

Employment Law

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