Thousands of working mums are cutting short their maternity leave over fears that taking more time off will jeopardise their job.
Just 12 per cent of women take the full year allowed by law and three-quarters (75 per cent) of those who don’t, regret their decision, a new study has found.
Concerns about being side-lined, edged out or pressure from their boss lead many to return to work, with almost one in five (18 per cent) going back within four months of giving birth.
Almost a third (30 per cent) felt their managers wouldn’t have supported them taking more time off and 11 per cent say fear it could damage their career was the main reason for their decision.
Thirty-nine per cent admitted they weren’t sure their job would be waiting for them when they went back.
Employment law specialist, Harriet Bowtell, from Slater and Gordon, who commissioned the research, said: “Maternity leave is about giving women the choice to return to work when they’re ready and not because they feel pressure to or fear for their job.
“Some women choose to go back for financial reasons or simply because they want to, but if the decision is driven by discrimination then that is unacceptable.
“Sadly, we still frequently speak to women who have had their careers stifled or damaged because of the time they took out for maternity leave.