Press Releases and Research

Press Release – 46% of employed mothers being made redundant blame a lack of childcare provision during the Covid-19 pandemic

Press Release Thursday 23rd July: New survey of 20,000 mothers and pregnant women reveals the true impact of childcare closures on women

Pregnant Then Screwed is today releasing new figures from a landmark 20,000 sample survey of mums and pregnant women, to unveil the lasting impact a lack of childcare during the pandemic has had on women’s careers. The data has revealed that a shocking 46% of employed mothers that have been made redundant or expect to be made redundant have said that a lack of childcare provision played a role in their redundancy. A huge 72% of mothers have had to work fewer hours because of childcare issues, and 65% of mothers who have been furloughed say a lack of childcare was the reason.

Of the employed mothers surveyed, 81% of said they need childcare to be able to work, but 51% do not have the necessary childcare in place to enable them to do their job.
This research comes as the government feels pressure from across the political spectrum for failing to include childcare provision in its plans for economic recovery. Last week, PM Boris Johnson announced the reopening of workplaces just as schools break for summer holidays, drawing criticism from both the opposition and his own party.

Joeli Brearley, CEO and founder of Pregnant Then Screwed explains, ‘On the 1st August we are expecting to hear that employers will be given “more discretion” to consider how their staff can continue working safely. But this completely ignores the realities facing women, that 51% of mothers simply do not have the childcare in place to be able to return to the workplace. This lack of childcare is destroying women’s careers, they are being made redundant, they are cutting their hours, and they are being treated negatively all because the Government has failed to consider these issues .’

A return to the workplace isn’t only going to impact mothers without childcare, but also pregnant women who are vulnerable and are at risk of infection if they come into contact with other people in the workplace. The survey has shown that an astonishing 45% of pregnant workers that are working outside of the home currently have not had an individual risk assessment conducted, increasing to 52% for BAME pregnant women. This is despite being classed as ‘clinically vulnerable’ by the government. A further 46% of these pregnant women do not feel safe from Covid-19 when they are at work, increasing to 59% for BAME pregnant women.

Joeli Brearley, CEO and founder of Pregnant Then Screwed explains, ‘Your employer must prove through a risk assessment that you will be safe in the workplace and that you are able to socially distance including on your commute. If they can’t do this then they must allow you to work from home and where that’s not possible they should suspend you on full pay. Not furlough, not sick pay, not enforced early maternity leave. It is simply not ok to continue treating pregnant workers as collateral damage throughout this pandemic, when we know that at least five pregnant women have already died from the virus. The confusion surrounding this is deafening, it’s the law, it’s women’s legal rights the same ones that have been in place since 1999 with the management of health and safety at work regulations.’

The reality is that 46% of women who have been suspended from work because of their pregnancy have been suspended on incorrect terms, including 33% on furlough, and another 13% on sick pay or told to take holiday or to start maternity pay.

Self-employed mothers are being dealt new lows according to this new data which has revealed that 74% have had their earning potential reduced because of a lack of access to childcare. 44% of self-employed mothers have had to give up their childcare space during covid, which is up from 33% for employed mothers.

Joeli Brearley, CEO and founder of Pregnant Then Screwed comments, ‘Self-employed mothers are being completely screwed. If they have taken maternity leave in the last 3 years their income support scheme grant will be reduced by around a third. On top of this they are having to give up their childcare spaces at a faster rate than employed mothers, and their earning potential is reducing week after week. It’s an absolute disaster.’

She continues, or think they will be in the next six months, this is huge and it’s terrifying. To add insult to injury though almost half of these attribute a lack of childcare to the decision. This is discrimination in it’s most purest sense. To make someone redundant not on their ability but because they are a mother is outrageous, and it needs to stop. While this data is shocking, it should also serve as a warning to employers. An organisation that lets caring responsibilities colour their judgement during redundancy consultations or selections could be leaving themselves open to sex discrimination claims. We need to see provisions in place to support mothers who are struggling with childcare through no fault of their own. We need the government to open its eyes to the gender imbalance in their planning and we need to help pregnant women and mums to be treated on merit, not on how many kids they have.’


For further press information or case studies from Pregnant Then Screwed please contact: [email protected] or call: 07756525004

Notes to Editor:

Pregnant Then Screwed ( is a charity and campaign which protects, supports and promotes the rights of mothers who suffer the effects of systemic, cultural, and institutional discrimination through our various schemes and activities, including: a helpline that provides guidance and signposting on employment rights including flexible working, afree legal advice service, a website where women anonymously post their stories of discrimination, and a mentoring programme that provides women with peer-to-peer support through an employment tribunal. Using our extensive case-study based research, we also endeavour to influence government policy and cause legislative change that will better protect the employment rights of pregnant women and mothers.

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