Working mothers and employers are unhappy with government plans to reduce maternity leave to 18 weeks, according to new research.
A Netmums survey of 1,500 mothers found that nearly 60% of mothers said it would be hard to ask for more time off if they needed more than 18 weeks leave. One quarter (24%) of these believe that their employer would make it clear that they wanted them back at that time.
The charity Working Families asked eleven employers their views on the 18-week maternity leave proposal, with nine of the eleven surveyed favouring the default 26 week-long leave over the shorter duration.
Employer concerns include higher absenteeism among women returning before they are ready, costs of rearranging leave cover if plans change, and the importance of retaining women’s workplace talent.
Netmums founder Sally Russell, says: “Women are very strongly saying that 18 weeks of maternity leave is not enough. It is possible to have a system that works for mums and days but this isn’t it.
“The findings show that an 18 week limit may well push women out of employment and the result will be the opposite of what the Government are trying to achieve.”