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New mums harassed at work over flexible hours

The high cost of childcare is preventing many single parents from holding jobs

According to research commissioned by the government, three quarters of pregnant women and new mothers have experienced discrimination at work, with one in nine losing their job as a result.

The Guardian reports that the research found there has been a huge spike in pregnancy discrimination since 2005, when only 45% of women said they had experienced it.

One in five mothers polled said they had received negative comments relating to their pregnancy or flexible working arrangements, with one in 10 reporting being discouraged from attending antenatal appointments.

The survey highlights some of the reasons for the increasing frequency of incidents, including rising employment tribunal fees, fear of negative repercussions at work, lack of information about rights and the stress of making a claim.

And the problem isn’t just affecting women already in work. Three quarters of those surveyed said they felt they were unsuccessful in job interviews because the prospective employer knew about their pregnancy.

However, an overwhelming majority of businesses said they think mothers are as dedicated to their jobs as other employees and that it’s in their best interest to support maternity leave and flexible working (84%). Only a quarter feel that pregnancy puts a cost burden on the workplace and the same amount said it’s appropriate to ask interviewees about their plans to have children.

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