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Low-Paid Mothers’ at Greater Risk of Post-Natal Depression

By Head of Core Services, General Law

Statistics from a recent Maternal Mental Health Alliance report revealed that 10-20% of women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or within a year of having a child.

Post-natal depression is very common, with around one in 10 women affected after giving birth. The stresses of having a baby and looking after a new born child are both emotional and physical, and can affect both men and women.

See our previous blog: Baby Blues: Fathers are Suffering their own Post-Natal Depression.

It is believed that individual social circumstances can add to this stress. This would imply that mothers with lower levels of social support and less financial security are more susceptible to stresses that could contribute towards depression.

The findings from Maternal Mental Health Alliance’s report entitled ‘The Costs of Perennial Mental Health Problems’ would seem to back this up. It revealed that 45% of entry level workers were feeling stressed since giving birth compared to 23% of senior executives.

This could be because of the level of support that entry level workers receive as well as having more pressing money concerns than their senior executive colleagues. 30% of management level employees were given advice about going on maternity leave whereas only 19% of entry level workers received similar advice.

In the run up to their maternity leave, 59% of mums working in entry level positions had no support from their employer above that which is legally required. In comparison, just 21% of those working senior positions had no support beyond the legal requirements. Similarly, a higher percentage of senior executives were offered ‘keeping-in-touch’, or KIT days. These allow mothers to return to work for a day or two without losing the right to their maternity leave.

KIT days are much like SPLIT days in that they can assist new parents from feeling left out of the loop at work or help to facilitate a phased return to work. 

Providing support for new mums and dads not only helps decrease the number of days taken off due to illness from stress but makes the return to work an easier and more positive experience. The right support will enable parents to transition back into the workplace after what is a life changing time. This kind of support usually generates huge rewards in terms of the loyalty and commitment employees then show to their employer, which ultimately makes for a happier, more stable and productive workforce.

If your employer is treating you unfairly upon your return to work from leave or because you are expecting a baby contact Slater and Gordon. Our employment law solicitors are experts on maternity and paternity discrimination and can give legal advice on employment law issues. For an initial consultation call us on freephone us on 0800 916 9060 or contact us online.

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