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Majority of maternity returners say they lack support when they go back to work

Majority of maternity returners say they lack support when they go back to work

Lack of support for maternity returners among UK businesses has been uncovered in a new survey of professional, mainly management-level women. More than four fifths of pregnant women begin their maternity leave unhappy and lacking in confidence about work – and over a third feel so isolated when they return that they want to hand their notice in. MMB, a working parents’ website, surveyed more than 1,000 mothers, 72 percent of whom were in jobs at management level or above.

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Is driver behind the widening parental leave gap a lack of rights in the gig economy?

Is driver behind the widening parental leave gap a lack of rights in the gig economy?

Could the driver behind the widening parental leave gap be the rise of the gig economy?The already low number of fathers claiming paternity leave has fallen for the first time in five years, to 213,500, down 3 percent from 221,000 last year an analysis by law firm EMW has revealed. To help encourage more men to take paternity leave, the Government launched the shared parental leave scheme in 2015. However, take up of the scheme has also been slow, with less than 2 percent of all UK fathers participating. These latest figures suggest that hundreds of thousands of men are not taking up their entitlement to paternity leave. In comparison with low rates of paternity leave, nearly treble the number of mothers (662,700) took maternity leave in 2017-2018, up from 661,000 in 2016/17. More →

Take up of shared parental leave is held back by cultural inertia

Take up of shared parental leave is held back by cultural inertia

A recent report by the House of Commons’ Women and Equalities Committee, Fathers and the workplace, has brought into sharp focus the problems fathers have juggling participation in family life with their employment obligations. We are moving away from the traditional gender stereotypes of the father being the breadwinner and the mother being responsible for childcare. Today, many families have two parents in either full or part-time work, with dual income households being far more common now than just 30 years ago. The pace of technological change and the growing gig economy have both contributed significantly to this shift in working patterns. As a result, some of the UK’s laws are becoming outdated, as many laws were formulated on the assumption that it would usually be the woman within a family who would have responsibility for childcare.

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New government campaign sets out to increase take up of shared parental leave

New government campaign sets out to increase take up of shared parental leave

A new government campaigned launched today encourages more parents to take up the offer of Shared Parental Leave in their child’s first year. The workplace right for eligible parents allows them to share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay after having a baby. They can take time off separately or they can be at home together for up to 6 months. Around 285,000 couples every year are eligible but take up could be as low as 2 percent, according to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and around half of the general public are unaware that the option exists for parents.

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New Acas guidance on preventing pregnancy and maternity discrimination at work

New Acas guidance on preventing pregnancy and maternity discrimination at work

Acas has published new guidance to help employers create supportive workplaces for women during pregnancy and maternity leave. The employment advisory service says it received more than 14,000 calls last year about pregnancy and maternity issues, an increase of almost 10 percent on the previous year. The guidance offers employers advice on how to comply with the Equalities Act, which protects employees against pregnancy and maternity discrimination including how employees on maternity leave should be made aware of opportunities for promotion and training; pregnancy related absences must not be included in an employee’s absence record; and employees must not be dismissed or made redundant for any issue related to pregnancy or maternity leave or maternity pay.

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Bumpy ride and slow uptake in first two years of shared parental leave rules

Bumpy ride and slow uptake in first two years of shared parental leave rules 0

Concerns over career prospects impact take up of shared parental leaveIt is two years since the introduction of Shared Parental Leave (SPL), where couples were given the ability to share leave surrounding the arrival of a new addition to their family; and while sharing leave is seen to have a profound beneficial impact for the family, there are still plenty of barriers. According to research from My Family Care, one of the largest is that  there is a sense that it involves a big risk with real concerns around the impact on a father’s career if they were to take more than two or three months off. A second report from the charity Working Families found that despite the initial slow take up of new rights, more than half of fathers would use Shared Parental Leave. However, snapshot figures for the first three months of 2016 showed that 3,000 new parents were taking up the new right. If the maternity leave figure is taken as indicative of the number of couples with new babies at the time the new figures are in line with the bottom of the government’s 2013 estimated take-up range – between two and eight per cent of fathers.

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Lack of free childcare dissuades workers from shared parental leave

Lack of free childcare dissuades workers from shared parental leave 0

parental-leaveJust 5 percent of new fathers and 8 percent of new mothers have opted for Shared Parental Leave (SPL) since its introduction in April 2015 a new report claims. Just one organisation in five (21 percent) said they had received requests from male employees to take up SPL since April 2015 and in two-thirds (67 percent) of organisations with mothers eligible for SPL, none have opted in. This low take-up of (SPL) and the lack of affordable childcare options for parents with 0-2 year-olds are both major problems that need to be addressed to support working parents more effectively, according to ‘Labour Market Outlook: Focus on Working Parents’ from the CIPD. The survey of over 1,000 HR professionals also suggests that the lack of free childcare for 0-2 year-olds could be having a negative impact on women returning to work after maternity leave.

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New alliance aims to help eradicate maternity discrimination at work

New alliance aims to help eradicate maternity discrimination at work 0

Pregnant workerA new alliance between leading businesses and the Equality and Human Rights Commission is being launched today to combat the level of pregnancy and maternity discrimination that affects around 390,000 pregnant women and new mothers each year. A coalition of businesses in the initiative ‘Working Forward – supporting pregnancy and maternity rights’, aims to inspire other organisations to follow their example by working to eradicate discrimination from their businesses and show employers how to attract, develop and retain women at work. The launch follows the EHRC’s recent landmark research, carried out in conjunction with the former Department from Business, Innovation and Skills which highlighted that while the majority of employers say they are firm supporters of female staff during and after pregnancy and find it easy to comply with the law, three in four (77 percent) mothers say they have had a negative or possibly discriminatory experience at work.

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More organisations worldwide offering parental leave rights to employees

More organisations worldwide offering parental leave rights to employees 0

parental leaveDespite the complexities of parental leave legislation, a  growing number of organisations worldwide are making the benefit available to their workforce, according to the new Global Parental Leave report from human resources consultancy Mercer. According to the study – which is behind a paywall – more than one third of organisations have one centralised global policy. Around 38 percent provide paid paternity leave above the statutory minimum and several countries mandate a parental leave programme that may be used by either parent or carers. A growing number of organisations have extended the right to part time employees and see it as a valuable tool for attracting and retaining talent regardless of the gender or contract of employees. While almost two-thirds (64 percent) of companies provide maternity leave for only the birth mother, 24 percent of companies provide this leave to a primary caregiver.

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Low take up for shared parental leave raises questions over demand

Low take up for shared parental leave raises questions over demand 0

Parental leaveNew research questions how much demand exists in the UK for fathers to take shared parental leave. The first available figures reveals a low take-up of new rights to paid leave, as just 3,000 new parents took advantage of the system in the first three months of 2016 – one year on from its introduction. By contrast, approximately 52,000 fathers and 155,000 mothers took paternity and maternity leave in an equivalent time period in 2013/14. The figures were published as a result of a freedom of information request from law firm EMW who suggest that this shows that the new rules are being significantly under-utilised and policymakers need to give more consideration to what benefits future changes to employment law will actually deliver versus the impact on small businesses which have to implement them. The new Shared Parental Leave system allows parents to share paid time off between them, in place of (and at the same rate as) Statutory Maternity Pay.

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Younger working mothers bear the brunt of maternity discrimination

Younger working mothers bear the brunt of maternity discrimination 0

Pregnancy discrimation at workiAs we’ve discussed before, when female workers have children their career prospects and salaries begin to slip. Having kids young and ramping up your career in your late 30s isn’t an option either as many working mothers find it difficult to secure flexible and well paid work with good career prospects while still in the early years of their career. This is one of the reasons why the average age of mothers in this country is now 34 and rather more controversially, why companies such as Apple and Facebook are offering women the chance to have their eggs frozen. More disturbingly though, research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission has found young mothers are significantly more likely to experience pregnancy and maternity discrimination, with six times as many under 25 year olds than average reporting being dismissed from their jobs after they tell their employer they are pregnant.

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Pregnancy and maternity discrimination has risen over the past year

Pregnancy and maternity discrimination has risen over the past year 0

Pregnancy discrimation at workiThere has been a 25 percent rise in people seeking advice on pregnancy and maternity discrimination over the past year; new figures from Citizens Advice have revealed, and it has growing evidence that pregnant women and new mums have had their working hours cut, been put onto zero-hours contracts, pressured to return to work early from maternity leave and, in extreme cases, have been forced out of their jobs. New figures from the national charity also show there has been a 22 percent increase in people seeking online help, with the charity’s web advice viewed 22,000 times over the last 12 months. Between April 2015 and March 2016 almost 2,000 people turned to Citizens Advice for help with pregnancy and maternity discrimination, up from just over 1,500 in the previous 12 months. In 4 out of 5 cases people were also seeking help with problems at work, a third of which were about redundancy or dismissal.

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