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Mums still face discrimination at work, says survey

One in four mums who have returned to work say they have been subjected to discrimination, either before or after the birth of their child, according to a new survey.

Researchers found 51 per cent consider that attitudes in the workplace towards them changed when they became pregnant, while two thirds said things had been 'difficult' for them since they returned from maternity leave.

Common complaints included being overlooked for promotion and being forced to watch more junior employees progress faster up the career ladder. Nearly half of working mums felt having children halted their career progression, while a third described rising up the career ladder as a mum `impossible'.

The research of 2,000 mums, commissioned by employment law specialists Slater & Gordon found four in ten mums don't feel they have the support of their bosses.

One quarter of mums felt under pressure to return to work earlier than they wanted to. Feelings of stress, frustration or being left 'out of the loop' were common, while a fifth said they definitely felt less valued having returned to work a mum.

Three in ten felt their bosses saw being a mum as inconvenient, and the same number thought it had played a major part in them missing out on a promotion.

Forty two per cent felt those younger and without children were prioritised in the workplace over themselves.

The most common attitudes mums faced were other workers' frustration at their part-time hours, not being included socially or in business-related matters and a general perception that their role had become just a job rather than a career.

A determined third of mums feel they actually work harder now than they did before their pregnancy.

Under UK law, mums can take action against an employer if they believe they have been discriminated against or treated unfairly in the workplace.

Acas runs training sessions on Maternity, paternity and adoption, offering practical guidance onfamily related matters, as well as training on Flexible working.

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions page for more information.

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