We’ve come a long way in the realm of feminism – but there’s still so much work to be done.
Case in point: mums are still penalised for having children, reporting that taking maternity leave continues to have a negative impact on their careers.
This is according to a new study from London South Bank University, which found that one in two mothers said going on maternity leave negatively affected their careers.
Just a third said taking time out to have a baby had not harmed their career, while the remainder weren’t sure.
The survey of 104 British women who had become pregnant and been in the workplace prior to taking leave found that the effects were not only due to the time away from the office.
These women reported receiving sexist comments and microaggressions at work, such as jokes about their ‘preggy brain’ or judgement for taking time off for maternity appointments and illness.
Many said male colleagues began to treat them differently when they became pregnant, and some reported that even as successful senior managers, they were suddenly treated like the ‘coffee lady’ or a secretary.
Alongside all of this, a large portion of the women surveyed reported missing out on promotions and pay-rises due to maternity leave and pregnancy.
Your rights during maternity leave:
- All employees have the right to 52 weeks maternity leave with the right to return to work.
- You are entitled to all your contractual terms and conditions during maternity leave, apart from your pay.
- You are entitled to 39 weeks’ maternity pay if you meet the qualifying conditions
- You have the right to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy, if one exists, if you are at risk of redundancy during maternity.
- You have the right to ask for changes to your hours, days or place of work on return from maternity leave.
- You are protected against unfair treatment, unfair dismissal and discrimination because of pregnancy, childbirth and maternity.
The law says that it is discrimination to treat a woman unfavourably on the grounds of her pregnancy or maternity leave (Equality Act 2010 s18).
To show discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy or maternity leave you do not have to compare yourself to how a man might have been treated but you must show that the unfavourable treatment or dismissal was because of your pregnancy or maternity leave.
Examples of unfavourable treatment and unfair dismissal include:
- selecting you for redundancy or dismissal because of maternity leave or because of changes to your job during your absence on maternity leave
- failing to consult you about a reorganisation, changes to your job or redundancy during maternity leave
- failing to provide a suitable alternative vacancy if your job is at risk of redundancy during maternity leave (Maternity and Parental Leave Regs 1999, reg. 10)
- making changes to your job that make it substantially less favourable to you
- refusing training or promotion opportunities
- reducing your pay or hours without your agreement following maternity leave
- withdrawal of a job offer or new contract
- pressure to resign
- demotion on return to work
Dr Yehia Nawar, of London South Bank University, said: ‘All women that gave feedback about maternity said that since they become pregnant, men in their companies had treated them differently.
This demonstrates that a glass ceiling and gender bias is deep in the UK, and that it is affecting women’s careers.
‘More specifically, microaggressions, discriminations, harassments, inequalities, stereotypes, prejudice, organisational culture and maternity are destroying the women’s career prospects.’
Credit: Original article published here.