Maternity and its impact on Women’s careers

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2014 National Women's Conference
15 October 2013
Carried as Amended

Maternity and its impact on Women’s careers

Conference notes that for many women, returning from maternity leave can attribute to future stressful periods in their working life. It’s not just the thought of leaving baby behind, but the thought of what lies ahead in regard to their future working life and opportunities within the workplace.

In Local Government, reorganisation seems to have become a yearly occurrence yet it is often the women who bear the brunt of efficiencies savings particularly those pending maternity leave or those who are actually on their leave. Most women that work in Public Services feel isolated and unsupported and many fall victim of incorrect HR advice in regard to their rights within the workplace when pregnant and on their return.

This can often result in women being unable to compete with colleagues when restructures occur when they are absent. Recent reports from organisations looking at the effects of maternity and future opportunities within the workplace show us that 37 % of professional women drop out of their careers at some point, mostly this refers to maternity. About three quarters of these women are side-lined for much of their lives as they cannot compete with the ‘male competitive model’ who have an unblemished record and so they simply leave their job due to pressure within the workplace.

However, this is not the only barrier women face on their return to the workforce.

Many women take part- time positions when they return from maternity leave, this is not always because they would like to spend more time with their children, but often it is due to the financial burden of costly childcare and the inflexible approach of many employers.

Since the Coalition Government took office we seem to have talked endlessly about women being disproportionately affected by the austerity measures yet we must do more.

Conference recognises that for us to achieve the ability for all women to be active, equal members of the workforce then there has to be a massive change in attitude by the employer with UNISON raising the profile of maternity issues in both the workplace and the media.

Therefore this conference calls upon the National Women’s Committee to:

1)Provide effective campaign material for branches to launch a ‘maternity and your rights’ campaign at both local and national level.

2)Work with UNISON nationally to include ‘maternity awareness’ in all foundation training for new workplace representatives and further training for the Women’s Officers within each of the branches.

3)Create and re-fresh material so that branches can promote maternity rights in easy to understand material.

4)Produce template policies which branches can promote with their employer which are family friendly with a duty of care.

5)To lobby MP’s for universal, affordable Childcare.

Northumberland County Branch

Northern Region