More flexible working roles for mums returning to work

Employers respond to need for part time work

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The majority of women returning to work take part time or flexible working roles after their maternity leave, new research confirms.

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Encouragingly, the study reveals that 71% of UK HR directors say they have already created flexible arrangements in order to accommodate these working mothers.

Robert Half, recruitment specialist, surveyed 200 HR directors throughout the UK. Referring to what is sometimes called the ‘maternal brain drain”, when mothers don’t return to work because they do not wish to or are unable to fit work and family together, and so do not return at all.

Robert Half reports that some of the initiatives that companies have put in place to help retain new mothers include part-time or job share opportunities (58%), childcare vouchers (32%), on-site childcare (18%), telecommuting (17%) and family health and dental plans (16%). 

This study also looked at the patterns of working dads and how they used paternity leave. Sadly, of the 66% of men who failed to take this leave, 41% recorded that ‘societal pressures’ as the reason for not taking statutory paternity leave. Other decision-making factors given were financial considerations (62%), excessive workload (34%), and perception in the workplace (25%).

Focusing on the more positive results of their study, Estelle James, director of Robert Half UK, said: “It bodes well for businesses that such a high proportion of new mums now want to return to work….The majority of HR directors in our survey understand that female returners want to come back to work in a flexible, part-time or job sharing capacity, so it’s good to see that they have already put measures in place to provide these opportunities…’

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