The majority (90%) of respondents who have returned to work after maternity leave state that they were not offered support, either through a return-to-work programme or one-to-one coaching, according to research by working parents’ website MMB.
Its Maternity returners survey, which polled 1,008 maternity returners in the UK working at management level, also found that only 18% of respondents felt happy and confident about work having seen the way previous maternity returners had been dealt with by their employer.
Abbie Coleman (pictured), founder at MMB, said: “Our survey shows it’s time for action, not just talk. #LeaveLoudly is about senior managers doing just that, to help normalise flexible working and change working culture to focus on production, not presenteeism.
“Along the same principle is #ReturnLouder. We want mums returning from maternity leave, or time out raising children, to let everyone know that there is this huge talent pool of parents who often get overlooked.”
Most respondents (92%) believe a dedicated return-to-work programme could be beneficial, especially as 37% felt so unsupported and isolated on their return to work that they wanted to leave their organisation. Only 17% of respondents thought that they had received good communication and support throughout the maternity process.
Under two-thirds (60%) of respondents were worried about their requests for flexible working being rejected once they returned to work, while a further 68% had concerns about the cost of childcare.
Rachel Reeves (pictured), Labour party member of Parliament for Leeds West, added: “The challenges facing parents returning to work after the birth of a child are immense. Many have to juggle caring responsibilities and running a home with fitting back into the workplace.
“It is important that employers are sympathetic to those challenges and do far more to help working parents with flexible hours, support with childcare where possible and other measures. Working parents are a huge asset to [businesses] and they should be nurtured and supported so they can play their part in growing the economy.”