Being a mother equips you with skills that are key to a successful career and intrinsic to any workplace.
Retaining the talent that has developed and grown over the years is great for business. However, the outdated assumption that some workplaces still have is that once a woman becomes pregnant, any career development comes to an end. Support can also be lacking, whilst most managers do want to do the right thing and be supportive of new mothers, they’re often unsure about what to say or do. This can result in some managers not saying anything at all, or completely getting it wrong 1.
It’s hard to return to work after maternity, 31% 2 of mothers said they found it harder than expected. Some parents say they feel guilty and anxious about missing key moments in their child’s development and it’s common for resentment to grow around the financial pressures which require a job to support the family, but also take them away from their child.
This can cause many parents to rethink their priorities as well as identifying any tensions that may arise between working and parenthood. Our Online Returners programme supports parents returning to work by delivering a boost in confidence as well as practical tools and targeted interventions to help with focus on specific areas of both work and homelife. All of which enables the safeguarding of professional, personal and mental wellbeing.
The choice to return to work is incredibly personal, and sometimes there is confusion around whether returning is mandatory. Most importantly however, being a mother equips you with fantastic skills which we will explore in this blog.
The below is correct as of 05/01/2023 and is legislative advice, so please be aware that it may change.
You have a right to return to work after having a baby and to the same job if you’ve taken 26 weeks or less. These first 26 weeks are known as ‘ordinary maternity leave’.
If you’ve taken ‘additional maternity leave’ or more than 26 weeks, you have the right to return to your job on the same terms prior to your maternity leave. However, if your organisation has changed, you can be offered a similar job but the pay, benefits, holiday, seniority, and location must be the same.
Being made redundant because you’ve been on maternity leave or have requested flexible working is against the law.
However, you don’t have to return to your job, you can resign and follow your company’s policies for leavers. One to thing to bear in mind is that if your employer offered you enhanced maternity pay, then this may be repayable if you resign from your job or leave shortly after returning from maternity leave 3.
This leads to some clear advantages that they can have over their counterparts:
Advancing more women in the workplace matters and companies with more women executives are more likely to outperform those with fewer senior women. With three in four mothers 8 in the workplace, accounting for 44% of all working women 9, this is a significant pool of talent which businesses cannot afford to ignore.
Header photo by Jep Gambardella on Pexels