A recent survey found that 52% of new mothers said their employer had been inconsiderate when they asked to work fewer hours after becoming a mother.
Almost half feel that their emotional and physical needs are not being met by their employer since becoming a mother, making it near impossible for them to effectively balance work and family life.
These shocking statistics demonstrate the need for change by employers. By doing so, we can encourage a culture of inclusivity and prove to employees that they are highly valued at the organization.
Why should your policies protect and support your new and expecting mothers?
There are multiple legal obligations that employers must follow to provide a safe working environment for their new and expecting mothers.
Recently in the UK, HSE guidance has changed and an individual risk assessment must now be carried out for workers who are pregnant, breastfeeding and 6 months postpartum. Controlling the risks posed in various working conditions is the best way to protect your employees from harm and your organization from litigation
We are experiencing a huge shortage of talent within the UK. It seems obvious but, as an employer, you should be doing everything within their power to keep your experienced staff within your workforce.
Putting wellbeing plans in place and making alterations once an employee announces their pregnancy will make them feel valued and supported; this is a great way to reduce their anxiety and improve work performance, especially on their return.
How can you support a new or expectant mother in your HSE plan and risk assessments?
Depending on what sector your organization sits in will determine what risks your new or expecting mothers will face. Once you have established these risks, you can begin to make changes and put processes in place to better support your employee.
Here are just 5 ways you can go above and beyond to work towards a more inclusive workplace.
- Find a quiet space in the workplace for a breastfeeding mother
There is a 92% retention rate of employees in workplaces that offer lactation support programs - an increase of 30% from the national average. Why? Providing a safe, distraction-free space to pump will be a huge incentive for a mother to return with minimized stress.
- Honor antenatal appointments
By law, employees have the right to take reasonable time off for antenatal appointments. Pregnancy shouldn’t be treated as an illness, so it is important to create a flexible working environment for your new mother-to-be.
- Agree on set times for breaks or flexible hours
Having a good work life and home life balance is difficult for anyone, but none more so than a new mother. Encourage your new and expectant mothers to take frequent breaks or reduce their working hours whilst they adapt to their new life and, let’s face it, the exhaustion.
- Have a ‘return to work’ process
It is a huge physical and emotional challenge for new mothers to return to work. Prior to their return, agree on adjustments that can be made so your new mother feels supported. Conducting regular reviews to ensure they are coping is a great way you can go the extra mile.
- Create a culture of openness
Having a baby is one of the biggest life changes so promoting honest conversations to discuss any concerns they may have, physical or mental, is a great way of demonstrating support to your new and expecting mothers.
Educate to eradicate bias
Unfortunately, it is a common misconception that a pregnancy somehow equates to a woman being less committed to their job. When removing bias, it needs to be addressed directly, rather than brushed under the carpet. Educate managers and your HR department in your workplace by distributing the facts and practices that should be taken to best protect employees and create an unprejudiced workforce.
With our New and Expectant Mothers Course, all that is done for you.
- Understand the legal duties placed on employers when managing a new or expectant mother
- Know what duties an employee has to their employer
- Have a clear understanding of general workplace risks and controls to mitigate them
- Understand how your health and lifestyle can affect your work life
Want to create a happy and healthy workforce?
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