Maternity leave is a cause for concern for nearly half of UK working women

For many women, the excitement of finding out they are pregnant is marred by their concerns about telling their employers the happy news. As many as 42% of working women are anxious about their employer’s reaction when they tell them that they are expecting a baby, according to a survey of 1,000 working women by OnePoll commissioned by QualitySolicitors.

Worryingly, even more women are unclear about their maternity rights, with 78% of women not asking about their company’s maternity policy even after accepting a job. This means that women are uninformed about their legal rights - including paid time off for antenatal care, maternity leave and maternity pay - and could end up missing out on what they are entitled to.

If you’re pregnant and worried about telling your boss, it’s good to arm yourself with the relevant information about maternity rights and responsibilities before you meet your employer.

For example, were you aware that you could share maternity/paternity leave between you and your partner? Although 71% of people surveyed agreed that this would be a good idea, 40% were unaware that they could actually do this. This clearly demonstrates that the Government’s initiative isn’t being sufficiently communicated to the public.

Craig Holt, founder of QualitySolicitors, explains: “In today’s economic climate, women are understandably concerned about job security. Despite strong legal regulation to assist the employer and employee, a culture of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ has been allowed to develop. Women are not asking about their rights, and employers are not always communicating clearly what these rights are and where they can find them.”

Our specialist employment lawyers have written two jargon-free guides aimed at both expectant parents and their bosses, clearly laying out what is legally required of them and what they are entitled to in their respective positions.  You can download the guides from our website.


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