I came across this interesting article courtesy of HR Today. Being a working mother myself, I understand this quite well and the struggle to return to the workplace.
Research from Workingmums.co.uk indicates employers may not be taking flexible working requests seriously. More than a quarter (26%) of working mothers have had a flexible working request denied, and 12% claim their employer did not even seem to consider their request at all. More than a quarter (27%) said the reason given for turning down the request was not compliant with flexible working legislation.
For women on maternity leave the figures were higher, with 35% of those who’ve had a flexible working request turned down saying it was rejected on non-compliant grounds. Two-thirds (68%) said they did not feel the rejection was justified. However, 79% did not appeal the decision.
The founder of Workingmums.co.uk, Gillian Nissim, said that although progress has been made over the past decade there was still work to be done. When she founded the site over 10 years ago, it was difficult to find flexible new jobs and many women who were working flexibly, felt their careers had been sidelined. Things have come a long way and businesses now see the benefit in creating a more family friendly workforce. But obviously a lot more needs to be done to create the kinds of workplaces that work for people who need flexibility, for whatever reason.
Nissim added that more education on rights for working parents could be key. “We would like to see more efforts made both to promote the case for flexible working more widely and to educate women about their rights with regard to the legislation.”
However, employers should always consider requests in a reasonable manner and can only refuse them if there is a legitimate business reason for doing so.
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