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Shocking new reports have revealed that some women are scared to take their full entitlement to maternity leave in fear that it will have a negative impact on their career.

Whilst financial concerns do contribute to women returning to work from maternity leave early, the primary concerns for many are the effects it will have on their role, status, opportunity for progression and ultimately, their job security.

Statistics published in the recent Taylor Report found that 77% of mothers surveyed had a ‘negative or possibly discriminatory experience’ during their pregnancy, maternity leave and upon their returning to work. Many women say they experienced changes in their colleague’s attitudes towards them after announcing their pregnancy, with some going as far as to say they have been on the receiving end of inappropriate behaviour or comments.

As well as discrimination, pregnant employees fear that taking too much time off on maternity leave may affect their current role and future opportunity for progression. 50% of mothers described a ‘negative impact on their opportunity, status or job security’ as a result of their pregnancy, compounded by the fact that redundancy rates were found to be considerably higher for pregnant employees, those on maternity leave or returning to work than it was for female employees as whole.

Even if their role is still available to them on return to work, many women often find themselves feeling out of the loop, left out of important email chains, conference calls or meetings and in some cases having responsibilities stripped away from them.

The law is very clear on this issue, any negative or unfavourable treatment towards an employee as a result of their pregnancy is unlawful, which makes it troubling to hear that so many women are feeling obliged to return to work earlier than they would prefer due to fears their career will be adversely affected.

Gorvins’ specialist maternity and pregnancy discrimination solicitor has campaigned to help women suffering this form of discrimination across the UK. Commenting on the recent statistics Danielle said

“The law surrounding pregnancy and maternity discrimination is pretty robust, but I feel that there needs to be some consideration given to the fact that pregnant women or new mothers may be too exhausted, or have more important things to focus on due to their impending or recent birth to pursue their rights.  These women need time to collect their thoughts and consider their position.  The law in this area is set up to protect them from unfavourable treatment, detriment or dismissal.”

If you are facing discrimination from your employer as a result of your pregnancy, we can help…

Danielle Ayres is one of the go-to solicitors in this area within the UK, working closely with a number of specialist partners and organisations, including Pregnant Then Screwed and Working Mums who support working women and mums to challenge unfair treatment as a result of their pregnancy and/or maternity leave. You can contact Danielle by email at employmentteam@gorvins.com or by calling 0161 930 5151.

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