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Posted by on in Employment Rights
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Keep six months maternity leave

A new study for Working Families and Netmums has found overwhelming opposition to plans to reduce maternity leave to 18 weeks. Working Families employer members have also voiced concerns about reducing maternity leave to 18 weeks and warn of hidden costs to business.


The Government, in its Modern Workplaces consultation, proposed that maternity leave be reduced to 18 weeks and the remaining leave currently available to women becomes “flexible parental leave” available to either parent. It is likely that the proposals will be included in the Children and Families Bill in the next Parliamentary session.

The Netmums survey of 1,500 mothers found:

  • Nearly 60% of mothers said it would be hard to ask for more time off, if they had had to request more leave after 18 weeks of maternity leave. Around 24% of these said their employer would have made it clear that they wanted them back at that time.
  • Asked if they would take advantage of their partners being able to take “shared leave”, 17% said their partner would be keen to take shared leave; 28% said he might want to but it wouldn’t happen in practice; while a further 41% said the family could not afford for the father to take the time off.

Working Families Chief Executive, Sarah Jackson said:

”This isn’t just about what women want: some of our top employers are warning of hidden costs to business if women come back too soon. We urge the Government to think again: 18 weeks of maternity leave is simply too short for women’s wellbeing and for business success.”



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