According to new research from the Office of National Statistics, 75.1% of mothers with dependent children are working in the UK. However, fathers with dependent children have a higher employment rate, at 92.6%.

With many employers now adopting flexible working hours, 62% of parents stated it was possible to vary their working day to look after children.

Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of women’s campaign group Fawcett Society, questioned that although it is positive that more mothers are working, it is important to ask what kind of work it is and are they in good jobs…

Sam said:

We must recognise that the pay women receive, the hours they work and the job security they enjoy is much worse than it is for men. There is too much segregation in the workplace. There is occupational segregation that means women are pushed into low-status jobs and there is segregation in the workplace, which prevents women from improving their position and getting promoted.

The Women and Equalities Committee released a report on pregnancy and maternity discrimination in 2016. Their research showed that the number of women subjected to pregnancy or maternity discrimination increased over the past 10 years.  The number of women who feel they’ve been forced out of jobs due to such issues has also doubled in the past 10 years.

These stats indicate that up to 21,000 women a year leave employment due to pregnancy and maternity-related health and safety risks that went unresolved by employers.

In Our Experience

Some women may be more susceptible to discrimination than others, i.e. a manager as opposed to shop floor staff. Senior and especially middle managers can be more susceptible to discrimination, presumably because they are seen as replaceable and dispensable.

Indicators of such discrimination may look like not being provided with much work upon return from maternity or the same type of work, and possibly isolation from other members of staff.

Problems of proving discrimination can be difficult, and more so stressful. Dealing with new family, as well as the uncertainty of job security and costs involved is a lot to take on. Maternity is a difficult time as it is without the challenges of losing employment.

Maternity discrimination also happens to men: there have been cases whereby a father succeeds with a sex discrimination complaint for failure to pay enhanced shared parental pay in circumstances where the employer would have paid enhanced maternity pay.

If you feel you have been discriminated against, take advice at the earliest juncture so that you are able to make an informed choice.

For expert legal advice on maternity discrimination, get in touch with Yunus today.  If you require any more information, contact our employment team on 0113 284 5000 or alternatively email

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