Employers are forcing mums out of work by refusing their requests for flexible working, according to a survey.
The Workingmums.co.uk annual survey found that a fifth of the 2,300 mums it polled had been forced to leave their jobs because a flexible working request was turned down.
More women are seeing flexibility as crucial for their career progression: 58% saw it as the most important factor, up from 52% last year. More than half (56%) said they would accept less pay for flexibility.
Working Mums also found that 38% of those still on maternity leave would not return to their jobs if flexible working wasn’t granted and 47% are unsure what they would do. Despite this, 46% of those on maternity leave had not yet discussed their flexibility request with their manager.
Of those who had flexible working turned down, over half said they felt the reasons given were unjustified. Some 13% who appealed were successful, but 77% didn’t appeal.
Most working mums have some degree of flexibility in their job, but 32% said they didn’t have flexibility. More are choosing not to return to their previous employer after maternity leave, with 62% going to a new job – up from 59% the previous year.
Gillian Nissim, founder of Workingmums.co.uk, said: “The survey results show how important flexible working in all its forms is to working mums. There are some jobs in which it is easier to offer certain forms of flexibility, but our work in highlighting best practice shows that there is room for a lot of creative thinking on how to make work culture more family-friendly. Some have argued that it is too expensive for businesses to move to more agile working patterns, but the survey demonstrates the costs of not doing so in terms of the loss of skilled staff.”
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