Issue 118/07, p15, 01.07.2018
How can we provide a better workplace for new and expectant mums?
Marion Scovell, head of legal, Prospect union

“Prospect suggests employers should be flexible and positively consider any requested changes to hours, location or role; comply with legal requirements, but go beyond that; show that they recognise the employee’s value and want to retain her; consult with the employee and her union on any changes that impact on her role during or after maternity leave; keep in touch during maternity leave; encourage the take-up of shared parental leave by ensuring that the pay for the partner taking leave reflects maternity pay entitlements; and engage with the union to review policies.”

01112017-tamsin-russellTamsin Russell, professional development officer, Museums Association

“Expectant mothers often face challenges in the workplace when posts are not backfilled, causing already stretched teams to become resentful. New mothers on maternity leave should have communicated how they want to be kept in the loop and employers should not make assumptions about what they would like to be in the know about. New mothers returning to work need time to get back up to speed, and to re-establish relationships. Moreover, with the advent of shared maternity/paternity leave, we should be asking how the sector can be a better workplace for new parents.”

01072018-dhikshana-peringDhikshana Pering Manager, young people’s programmes, London Transport Museum

“For me, it’s about one word: ownership. It comes down to how a maternity cover is planned from start to finish. A month to handover and a few months to be handed back is what we need – it’s not yet happening. For a mother, this means starting maternity leave with calm and closure; on her return, enabling her to find a new way of working; and the ability to pause if plans for childcare or a new family routine need adapting, while not feeling work is piling up. It will take more time to plan, and cost more, but we will have happy and motivated mothers returning to work.”

01072018-becky-cundBecky Cund, director of HR & Administration, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

“We are supportive and flexible through all three stages of the journey: pregnancy, maternity leave and returning to work. Health support, thorough risk assessments and reasonable adjustments are important, as are open lines of communication throughout maternity leave. Flexible working arrangements that are reviewed with the needs of the organisation and the employee ensure return to work is smooth and efficient. This is a basic right, it also offers business benefits of commitment and loyalty – multi-tasking parents are among the most efficient workers.”