A third of Brits still believe mums with children under five shouldn’t be working

Working mums
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A new survey on social attitudes has revealed that 33% of Brits believe mums with pre-school age children shouldn’t go back to work.

While it’s becoming marginally easier for mums to return to work after having a baby, it seems many people’s attitudes towards the matter haven’t changed so much.

In fact, a recent survey on British Social Attitudes has revealed that 33% of Brits believe mums with children under five should stay at home and not go back to work. Only 7% of people agreed that mums should work full-time, while 38% said part-time hours were acceptable.

It was also found that 50% of the UK workforce doesn’t even know if their employers offer shared parental leave, despite the fact 65% think their organisation should offer it. In fact, almost half (47%) of HR professionals admitted to only promoting their company’s shared parental leave policy when an employee announces they’re expecting a baby.

Divided opinions on working mums

The survey also found that 35% said that normal holiday allowance should be used, so as not to discriminate against people who aren’t parents.

“I read these statistics and immediately thought of my own daughters,” says Mandy Garden, editor of workingmums.co.uk. “Will they still be facing this kind of ridiculous judgement when they decide whether or not to have children? I expect so.”

She continued: “Most women who take a career break when their children are small want to get back to work eventually, but it is very clear that many struggle to get back to work on anywhere near the level they were at before they took a break.

“Going part time most probably means taking a step down the pay scale or being stuck in the job you have negotiated flexibility in because there is still, despite years of campaigning, a lack of advertised part-time senior roles. If you take a lower paid part-time role, all hopes of career progression are very likely parked.”

How does shared parental leave work?

Shared parental leave allows you and our partner to split up to 39 weeks of statutory pay as you see fit between the two of you. You can even structure it in three blocks per person, so you can even dip in and out if you want to.

The first thing to do when considering your parental leave rights is to check your contract. If you and your partner plan to share responsibility for your child, have been employed by your current company for over 26 weeks when you told them about the pregnancy, and you remain with your employer during shared parental leave, then you should be eligible.

READ MORE: Would you take shared parental leave with your partner?

As well as up to two weeks’ paternity leave, fathers have a legal right to take shared parental leave for up to 50 weeks. Employees on leave can also make use of 20 ‘In Touch’ days, in which they come into the office to check in and stay in the loop, without technically returning to work.

Check what you’re entitled to with the Gov.uk shared parental leave calculator.

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