by Sarah Veale CBE
Published: 23 Jul 2015
Welcome to our new #worksforme campaign for employers and employees. Over the next four weeks we’ll be showcasing useful guidance aimed at helping make pregnancy and maternity work for everyone, whether you’re running a small business or a first-time mum planning your return to work.
The state of play
Thousands of businesses across the UK benefit hugely from employing pregnant women and working mums. In turn we know that many employees enjoy returning to their careers and balancing those demands and rewards with those of their families, I remember doing so myself.
We also understand that there are challenges for plenty of businesses in making this work. We've been talking to thousands of them for our #worksforme campaign and working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to produce a brand new report with our findings.
Our new report
This week’s launch of the BIS and EHRC Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination Research findings report highlights a range of issues faced by everyone in the workplace, whether it’s the employer, the pregnant employee or her colleagues.
The report follows the Equal Opportunities Commission’s report in 2005 and represents the biggest research ever conducted into UK discrimination - with a sample of more than 3,000 employers and employees. We’ve produced it working in partnership with organisations which have expertise both in business and in women’s rights.
We hope its findings help to shine a spotlight on the extent of discrimination against pregnant women, those on maternity leave and those who have returned to work.
We will be following up with a second report in the Autumn with full recommendations for policymakers and employers aimed at improving the status quo.
The report’s findings
Our report paints a picture of some employees unclear on their rights and some employers unaware of their responsibilities. Of employees who felt unsupported by their managers and sometimes unfairly treated by their colleagues on their return to work, with flexible working not even an option for many.
While the overwhelming message from employers is a positive one, the evidence of unhappy, stressed employees doesn’t match up. We know that the majority of employers want to do the right thing by their workforce of mums who work for them, but this doesn’t always translate in practice.
We’re here with a campaign that can help. #worksforme is aimed at celebrating the many success stories out there as well as giving businesses and employees the guidance they need.
We’ve got short film case studies you can watch packed with good practice and successful stories, as well as practical guidance in the form of useful infographics and quizzes you can take to test your own knowledge.
We’ll also be launching an online toolkit of guidance and good practice for employers that anyone can use. It walks employers through the whole journey from finding out one of your employees is expecting, through to managing her successful return to work and beyond.
How can you get involved?
We want your input too. So if it’s a cause you’re passionate about then show your support using the #worksforme hashtag on tweets and posts, and if you think it’s useful feel free to share on Facebook or Linked In with your followers. Let us know what works for you!