Fawcett Society guidance – uplifting new mothers at work

Posted on November 29th, 2023

The Fawcett Society, the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights at work, at home and in public life, has collaborated with Totaljobs to produce further guidance for employers in supporting new mothers at work. This is the second in their ‘Paths to parenthood’ series following a report and guidance on fertility at work. The new guidance focuses on the experiences of new mothers as they transition back to work after maternity leave.

Key findings

  • 84% of mothers face difficulties returning to work after maternity leave.
  • 11% of mothers never return to the role they left and 19% of those that do quickly consider leaving.
  • On average, mothers with two children earn 26% less than women without children, while fathers see their earnings rise.
  • 16% of mothers have faced discrimination based on their status as a working mother, rising to 22% of single mothers.
  • 84% of mothers face challenges returning to work with 30% of mothers receiving no support.
  • Flexible working arrangements came top for the type of support working mothers wanted to see but only 31% have access to such arrangements.
  • 72% of parents have had to take unpaid time off work due to their childcare responsibilities.

Employer recommendations

The guidance includes employer recommendations such as:

  • A clear policy framework which enables productive conversations between managers and employees to discuss matters such as:
  • The level of contact.
  • KIT days.
  • Return to work meetings.
  • Guidance on flexible working.
  • Support available, including mental health, access to parental networks and financial support.
  • Using data to track retention, training and promotion of individuals post maternity, paternity, or parental leave.
  • Fostering a positive and inclusive workplace culture by educating all staff and management about the challenges faced by parents, along with a commitment to become a family friendly employer.
  • Upskilling managers.
  • Embedding flexible work options by having open conversations to find work patterns that suit both parties. Considering short term flexible working agreements and avoiding using vague terms such as ‘business needs’ to reject flexible working requests.
  • Fostering development opportunities.
  • Championing affordable childcare.
  • Supporting paternity and parental leave.

Further information

A link to the guidance from the Fawcett Society can be found at Paths to parenthood: uplifting mothers at work.

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