Nine out of ten women face problems returning to work after having children

dancing through the day, busy mum, working mum

A recent survey of 1,000 UK mothers has revealed a continuing lack of support from businesses when it comes to balancing family and work.

The survey, undertaken by HR training providers DPG, revealed that nine in ten mothers faced issues when returning to work after maternity leave.

The most common problems mothers faced were struggling to balance time between childcare and work; feeling guilty about leaving their child; struggling financially with the cost of childcare; feeling marginalised or excluded by colleagues; and unsupportive and inflexible colleagues.

The research also revealed the extent to which women are still bearing the burden of childcare when it comes to newborns and young children. On average, mothers take 12.5 months parental leave after the birth of a child. In comparison, two-thirds of men took just two weeks or less leave, and one in five took no leave at all. This means that women are taking an average of 24 times more parental leave than men.

Only half (51 per cent) of mothers were satisfied with the support they received from their workplace when returning from parental leave. Survey respondents gave indications of what companies could be doing to help the transition back to work easier, including flexible working hours, more paid maternity leave, working from home, providing an onsite crèche and more childcare vouchers

Companies that don’t do more to support mothers returning to work risk losing substantial portions of their workforce. Currently, two-thirds of women (68 per cent) are unable to return to work full time after maternity leave, and one in five (19 per cent) finds it necessary to leave their position altogether.

Speaking about the research, Sarah Aubrey, CEO at DPG said, “As International Women’s Day 2019 approaches it’s important to recognise how far we have come and how far we still have to go when it comes to gender equality.”

“Our research highlights important issues around the 2019 theme #Balanceforbetter, by indicating that although women are still bearing most of the childcare responsibility for newborns and young children, their extra work is not being met with adequate support to help them transition back into the workplace.”

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