Parents fear maternity leave threat

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Expectant mothers are afraid to tell their bosses they are pregnant, fearing their jobs are on the line.

That’s according to research conducted for the Work and Family Show by emergency care provider My Family Care. In a survey of 1,000 parents across the UK, it found that 42% of expectant mothers were afraid to reveal their pregnancies at work, and 54% of parents believe their jobs are under threat when they go on maternity leave.

In fact, only 26% believe they can successfully balance work and family. This is despite the fact that the survey also showed that companies are becoming more flexible; with nearly half (42%) of employees saying their employer is willing to be flexible to their needs.

Ben Black, director of My Family Care, said: “This research shows that we still have a long way to go in educating both employers and employees on the importance of work/life balance. Companies have evolved dramatically over the past five years alone, with the popularity of flexible and remote working, and more companies looking at ways they can support their caring workforce via emergency childcare and the like. However, there is still a stigma surrounding maternity and paternity leave that needs to be shattered and it’s only through education, debate and new laws – including Shared Parental Leave coming into force in April – that this can be done.”

When it comes to returning to work – more than a quarter (28%) of parents said they were looking forward to going back while just a third (34%) said they felt guilty about leaving their child.  Similarly, nearly half of working parents (43%) said they don’t feel guilty about leaving work early for family-related commitments although 8% said they are made to feel guilty by their boss or colleagues.

The research was performed in January 2015 to launch the second Work & Family Show taking place in London on 20th – 22nd February. The show is dedicated to helping new parents return to work after having a family.

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ilyoungko/

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