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1 in 7 women made redundant after maternity leave. Plus, new guest blog from Maternity Action

(166 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 10-Mar-13 22:06:41


Some of you may have seen this report in The Guardian of survey findings suggesting that one in seven women is made redundant after taking maternity leave.

The findings also suggest that 40% of the 1000 women polled found that, when they returned from maternity leave, their jobs had changed - with half reporting a cut in hours or demotion.

Does this surprise you? Or not? Maybe it's happened to you? Do share your thoughts...

*Update from MNHQ: We've now got a guest blog from Maternity Action over on the Bloggers Network. Do have a look, and let us know what you think about that, too.

conorsrockers Thu 14-Mar-13 22:18:49

Frustrating - I type a reply and it gets 'lost' when I post it... ggrrrrr ....!

I understand the theory of ML, and for what its worth I think its a good move for society in general, however, it only takes a few to spoil it for everyone else. There are women that take advantage and take jobs with the sole purpose of getting ML and taking as much leave as they possibly can - leaving the employer not knowing what's going on for some period of time. Employers then become wary of employing potential mothers-to-be ... I have spoken to many over the years that have 'avoided' taking on women because of the ML regulations. Which is, I think, much more of a worry ...
If I had a MLeaver on my staff, it would be administrative so I would juggle their job for a few months, in which case, yes, 3 would be easier than 12!

foxrivereight Thu 14-Mar-13 14:07:17

Why shouldn't they be 'entitled' to ML ? ML creates a fairer workplace between the sexes (ie women still have an income while having dc) and creates a fairer society . Without ML only women with wealthy DHs could afford to have DCs . Couples who are equal earners would not as the drop in money would be too significant .

HorryIsUpduffed Thu 14-Mar-13 08:46:32

conors I would have thought it was easier to find maternity cover for twelve months than three though, no?

conorsrockers Thu 14-Mar-13 05:37:54

I think I would have left work if I was an employee .. my ex employer was the sort that would have sacked someone for ML (illegal or not). As far as they were concerned it was YOUR choice to have a baby, not their problem. This thread has some desperately sad stories - however, I've always had this little niggle at the back of my mind about WHY this entitlement exists, hence why I was drawn to read it. I can understand 3 months, I think that's fair, but a whole year to me seems crazy ... and then if you go on to have another child fairly soon after etc... I've heard of people that have been off on ML for the best part of 5 years. I can't see how that is benefiting the employer .... but I can see how it benefits the employee!

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 14-Mar-13 00:23:25

Thanks conors. Do you think you'd've done the same if you'd been an employee?

conorsrockers Wed 13-Mar-13 13:32:31

Doctrine - 10ish days with the first, 5ish days with two and three - but I only went in to work three days a week and did the rest from home for the first 6 months or so until they were settled into day care (much easier with 2 and 3!!). Not sure I really count as a statistic as I am the employer, however, with only 6 staff and a very niche industry - maternity leave would cause us absolute chaos. I can see both sides of the coin.

KatherinaMinola Wed 13-Mar-13 12:22:55

OneLieIn, so glad you got the money (and the bigger and greater things).

I'm also one of these statistics - made redundant on mat leave.

OneLieIn Wed 13-Mar-13 11:19:41

Wish don't be sorry for me. I hate them still with a passion that has led me onto much bigger and greater things.

I hope they can't sleep at night. I certainly wouldn't be able to if I had to do that, lie, treat unfairly and illegally.

Wishihadabs Wed 13-Mar-13 11:11:32

One liein sad So sorry . I too had to pull my 7mo dd out of nursery where she was settled and happy.

OneLieIn Wed 13-Mar-13 11:06:38

Me too. Made redundant on my first day back from a 4 month mat leave.

They clearly had forgotten about me in the reorganisation and had 2 men doing my job.

What really really and still upsets me all these years later is that I put ds into a nursery at 3 months so he would have a month to settle in. I will never get that month back.

I got just over a years salary plus other things so about 18 months all in after an initial tribunal hearing.

Very very very stressful, the hurtful things they said, made me depressed during a time that should have been the happiest.

Wishihadabs Wed 13-Mar-13 10:34:32

Yes I was threatened (if that's the right expression)with redundancy on my return from maternity leave. I actually found a (better) job and gave in my notice instead. I wouldn't appear in your stats.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 13-Mar-13 09:45:59

Conors, how long did you/your DW take on maternity leave for each child?

conorsrockers Wed 13-Mar-13 06:20:23

I'm not surprised at all. But then I've always struggled with the idea that women should be 'entitled' to hold a job for 6 months/a year/whatever while they take ML. And I work full-time and have 3 kids! Just something I've never really understood - it doesn't surprise me women get treated like this at all. Sad as it is.

fertilityagogo Tue 12-Mar-13 20:03:13

Yes, another one here. Currently taking my employer to tribunal as apparently they didn't follow any proper procedure.

The whole experience has been exhausting, frustrating, demoralising, humiliating.

Particularly as my "replacement" spends most of the day on Facebook, apparently.

rushingrachel Tue 12-Mar-13 18:45:54

I am one too. I was made redundant 8 weeks after returning from maternity leave with DS2 but my boss had been trying to get me out since birth of DS1. To be honest I understand that the worker I was pre kids was better than the worker I was after them: more single minded; accepted longer hours; less absent. But I was still annoyed. It's worked out for the best as I am able to be a SAHM and loving it a lot.

notfluffy Tue 12-Mar-13 18:39:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 12-Mar-13 18:08:05

Oh waffle that's awful.

BimbaBirba Tue 12-Mar-13 17:46:01

One of those too.
One month who're coming back from maternity leave, my boss said that she could only "offer" me half I my pre maternity hours. I put my foot down and threatened to sue them so she backed down and allowed me to come back on my pre-maternity hours. However, I envisaged that as soon as she felt that she cold get away with it, she would make me redundant or cut my hours as planned so I looked (an found) another job while still on maternity leave.

KatieMiddleton Tue 12-Mar-13 17:45:55

Erm no thanks. Since when do MNHQ tout for journos on threads? hmm

You see most people cannot comment because of the mutual confidentiality clauses contained in compromise agreements and the rest, without evidence, could be potentially libellous when published. Or you take out all the specifics and then there's no story. < That is why it goes on unnoticed and not brought to account.

badguider Tue 12-Mar-13 17:45:10

And to be clear, this public sector organisation is not a bunch of pen pushers, it's not life or death but it's something that contributes to the quality of life of people all over the uK and a service i bet most families use.

badguider Tue 12-Mar-13 17:42:31

My experience is in the public sector (though now i am self-employed after redundancy) and I would say that women in my old organisation were absolutely NOT discriminated against and opportunities for job-share and pt working were sensible and flexible.

HOWEVER the entire organisation is being decimated with around 25% of all staff redundant of a workforce which was already disproportionately female and probably around half of those females had children.

JaneGMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 12-Mar-13 16:41:19


Just wanted to draw your attention to this media request from the Sunday Mirror - they are looking for women to talk about this very subject.

Do get in touch if you'd like to share your story.



loadofwaffle Tue 12-Mar-13 14:33:52

I took ML and towards the end found out my mother was dying, yes actually really dying. I had a heart to heart with my boss who let me extend my leave with some 'unpaid leave of absence'... ie no protection whatsoever. The same week as the funeral he made me redundant. Wanker. Now realise I should have gone through proper channels and been on 'carers leave' and probs wouldn't have been touched as the company is generally legally nervous... oh, and obviously the person doing my job while I was on leave is still there! Grrrr

CrackersandCheese Tue 12-Mar-13 12:29:42

Happened to me as well

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 12-Mar-13 11:44:10

To give an anecdote from the other side, I was in the early stages of pregnancy when a redundancy process was started at my last job. I told my boss and they still went through a proper process and I kept my job.

Sorry so many people have suffered angry

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