Just over half (59%) of new mums in junior positions only receive the legal minimum provision from their employer in the run up to and while taking maternity leave, according to research by Axa PPP Healthcare.
However, its research, which surveyed 1,186 first-time UK mums, including 64 entry level, 294 management level and 26 senior executive level employees, also found that just under a quarter (21%) of respondents in senior roles only received the minimum maternity benefits required by law from their employer.
The study also found:
- 23% of respondents in entry-level positions were offered keeping-in-touch days during their maternity leave, compared to 46% of management level staff and 54% of senior executives.
- 19% of entry-level respondents were given advice about going on maternity leave compared with nearly a third (30%) of management-level respondents.
- 45% of entry-level respondents said they have felt stressed since their baby was born, compared to 23% of senior executive respondents.
Dr Mark Winwood, director of psychological services at Axa PPP Healthcare, said: “The perceived disparity in the support employers offer to first time mums before they go on maternity leave is alarming, particularly when you consider the impact this may have on the individual’s mental health.
“Indeed, this ‘ambivalence of worth’ by employers could be contributing to significant self-esteem issues for some mums to be.
“Employers would be wise to ensure they support all of their employees equally at this transformative time in their lives and careers.
”They should also remember their legal duty of care to ensure that they conduct an appropriate and regular risk assessment process for all employees who notify them of their pregnancy to ensure that they are offered suitable support and workplace adjustments to help them remain safe at work, irrespective of their position within the organisation.
“Helping employees to prepare for their maternity leave, and supporting them during their time away from work, can help them feel more positive about coming back to work once they are ready.
“For example, offering keeping-in-touch days during maternity leave can help to ensure that new mums still feel part of the working community, encouraging them to return to work, bringing their wide ranging skills with them!”