Lack of flexible working forcing mums out of work

Lack of flexible working forcing mums out of work

Nearly 20% of working mums have been pushed out of their jobs due to a flexible working request being turned down.

According to's annual survey of over 2,000 women, 12% said their employer did not consider their request for flexible working at all. Over a quarter said the reason given for turning down the request was not in line with flexible working legislation.

For women currently on maternity leave the figures increased: 35% of those who had their request dismissed said their employer justified it on grounds other than those allowable under flexible working legislation. 68% did not feel the rejection was justified, but 79% did not appeal.

However, of those that did appeal – only five per cent were successful.

Sadly, 41% of those on maternity leave said refusal of flexible working would mean they might not return to their job, although half of them admitted to not discussing flexible working before going on maternity leave.

Aside from flexible hours, other barriers hindering career development included childcare costs - half of women currently on maternity leave said childcare costs could prevent them returning to work.

Companies could be missing out on retaining top talent, as 60% of women said they changed jobs after maternity leave. 58% say they are interested in starting their own business or becoming a franchisee, with 40% of these actively pursuing this plans.

Gillian Nissim, Founder of, comments: "When I founded ten years ago, it was difficult to find flexible new jobs and many women who were working flexibly felt their careers had been side-lined.

“We've come a long way and many now see the huge business benefits of creating a more family-friendly workforce. Our survey shows ten per cent of women describe their job as extremely flexible, for instance.

“But there is still more to be done to create the kind of workplaces that work for people who need flexibility, for whatever reason. That means encouraging and supporting employers to implement flexible working so that they do not lose employees who typically have years of experience in their roles.” 

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