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Helpline report shows high levels of maternity discrimination

Family support charity Working Families has published a report into calls made to its helpline in 2012.

The report shows that for the third successive year there have been high levels of maternity discrimination – the issue is raised in almost 10% of all calls – reinforcing recent research that this is a major and growing problem.

The report also draws attention to the unpicking of flexible working arrangements by employers with little consideration of the impact on family life. Childcare costs remain a key concern for parents, particularly for families with disabled children.

Working Families Chief Executive, Sarah Jackson said:

“This is the third year we’ve reported on high levels of maternity discrimination, with signs that employer attitudes are hardening and discrimination becoming more blatant. Eight years ago – before the recession hit – the Equal Opportunities Commission found 30,000 women lost their jobs each year because of pregnancy or maternity. It is time the EHRC revisited the issue, as we believe our helpline reveals only the tip of the iceberg.

“We’re also calling on employers to recognise the impact of their imposed changes to contract on families already struggling to balance work and care. Parents can’t suddenly change their hours to work Saturdays or in the evenings if childcare isn’t in place. We call on the government to use the forthcoming budget to provide extra help with childcare costs and protect families from further cuts. Our helpline reveals that parents are struggling to make work pay.”