Mums are being forced out of work and a career due to a lack of flexible jobs, according to new research.
An annual survey, released by workingmums.co.uk, found that nearly one in five working mums have been forced to leave their jobs because a flexible working request has been turned down.
The survey also revealed that 26 per cent of mums have had a flexible working request turned down. Some 12 per cent said their employer did not even seem to consider their request at all and 27 per cent said the reason given for turning down the request was not one that is allowable under flexible working legislation.
The research suggested that flexible working was the key career development issue for working mums, with some element of homeworking the most valued, particularly for those wanting to work full time. Other barriers included childcare costs, with half of those surveyed who are currently on maternity leave saying childcare costs could prevent them from returning to work.
Flexible working legislation was extended to all employees in 2014, but some provisions of the original legislation, such as the statutory right of appeal, were watered down.
The company are now calling for improved education on employment rights and toughening up of legislation. Workingmums.co.uk are also calling for policymakers to reinstate a statutory right of appeal if a request is turned down.
Gillian Nissim, founder of workingmums.co.uk, said, “When I founded workingmums.co.uk ten years ago, it was difficult to find flexible new jobs ad many women who were working flexibly felt their careers had been sidelined.”
“We’ve come a long way and many now see the huge business benefits of creating a more family friendly workforce.”
“But there is still more to be done to create the kind of workplaces that work for people who need flexibility, for whatever reason.”
“That means encouraging and supporting employers to implement flexible working so that they do not lose employees who typically have years of experience in their roles.”
She continued saying, “While flexible working may not be possible in some cases, it is worrying to see that 12 per cent of women who said their request had been turned down did not feel it was even considered at all.”
“Under flexible working legislation employers have a duty to deal with requests in a ‘reasonable manner’.”
“We also have concerns since most who had their request rejected while on maternity leave did not appeal, even though 68 per cent felt the reasons given for the rejection was not justified.”