Press Releases and Research

Press Release – The true scale of the crisis facing working mums

Press Release 24th July 2020: The true scale of the crisis facing working mums

Our landmark survey of 20,000 working mothers

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

Our new survey of 19,950 mothers and pregnant women reveals the true impact of childcare closures on women. The research was conducted online 16-18th July 2020, and was completed by 19,950 women.

The data has revealed that 15% of mothers either have been made redundant or expect to be made redundant and of those, a shocking 46% 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% 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. 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 from Boris 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 work.

“This lack of childcare is destroying women’s careers, they are being made redundant, they are being forced to cut their hours, and they are being treated negatively all because they are picking up the unpaid labour.”

The impact on pregnant women

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 Black, Asian and Ethnically Diverse 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 Black Asian and Ethnically Diverse pregnant women.

‘Your employer must provide pregnant women with a detailed risk assessment to show how they will keep you safe,” says Joeli.

“The risk assessment should demonstrate 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 impalpable, 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.

The impact on self-employed mothers

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.

“Self-employed women have had an unbelievable ride during Covid-19, with women who have taken maternity leave in the last three years seeing their government support cut by a third or even two-thirds if they have had two maternity leaves, compared to dads who are not impacted financially by maternity leave,” says Joeli.

“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.

“That 15% of employed mothers have been made redundant or think they will be in the next six months, 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 its most purest sense. To make someone redundant not because of 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 claims of sex discrimination. 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 that Covid-19 is exacerbating and we need to help pregnant women and mums to be treated on merit, not on how many kids they have. The time to change this is now.”

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


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