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Lack of flexible working forcing mothers out of work

A lack of childcare options and inflexible employers are forcing some mothers out of the workplace

More than four in 10 (41%) working mums say the childcare options available are not flexible enough, according to research from Workingmums.co.uk.

The survey of more than 2,300 mothers found childcare for school-aged children was a problem for 57%, with 45% relying on assistance from their children’s grandparents to cope. Inflexibility on the part of employers was also found to be an issue.

Some women are being forced to resign from jobs they love:

Anne*, a former retail buyer from Essex, was forced to leave her job after being refused flexible working options when she returned after maternity leave

"When I went back to work, I felt quite strongly that I didn’t want to work full-time as I was keen to also spend quality time with my new son. When I applied for flexible working on the basis of three days a week, however, my request was unfortunately turned down, and I had no choice but to leave the job that I loved and had trained seven long hard years in.

What is most frustrating for me is the fact that I have spent nearly seven years of my life learning many skills to be a great retail buyer, only to have these skills and this experience go to waste just because I decided to have children.

It is a sad thing for me to admit, but I don’t think I will ever be able to work in retail buying again.”

Ishita* worked at a global pharmaceutical company as a technical documentation writer. After having a child she had to leave her job because the organisation would not give her a flexible working/part-time work arrangement

"It was a bit of a shock when my company did not grant me part-time hours. I knew the company well, had undergone ongoing training for more than three years, was consistently commended for my work and enjoyed every moment of what I was doing. I thought I had a strong future with the firm, especially when I survived a large-scale redundancy programme in 2011 when the business lost more than a quarter of its UK workforce.

I would have loved to have kept working at the company, but from day one my priority has always been my daughter. My husband and I have put our plans to buy a house on hold until I can secure some reasonably well-paid work. Unfortunately I keep being told that I am over-qualified for the part-time jobs I am currently applying for, such as shop work. It is really frustrating.”

*Names have been withheld to ensure anonymity