Assistance for Women to return to work - Question in the House of Commons

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Hello! We are the official representative of the House of Commons (we do not represent the government). Yesterday a question was asked about support for mothers returning to work following the birth of a child. We though the response from the government minister might be of interest to yourselves. So we have posted it below - do feel free to comment if you wish on the content of the response.

John Robertson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what steps she is taking to make it easier for women to return to work following the birth of a child. [167773]

Jo Swinson: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Shared parental leave and pay will introduce greater choice and flexibility for parents, allowing working couples to choose how they manage the care of their new baby, during the early months. This will enable mothers to return to work earlier, leaving the baby in the care of their partner if they so choose.

The UK already has a good record for mothers returning to work following the birth of a child. The Maternity and Paternity rights survey 2009-10 shows that 77% of mothers who had worked before the birth returned to work by the time their child was 12 to 18-months-old.

84% of mothers who returned to work after their maternity leave, returned to the same job with the same employer.

John Robertson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what recent discussions she has had with representatives of managers on the contribution of women returning to the workplace after pregnancy. [167814]

Jo Swinson: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

During the consultation on the administration of shared parental leave I have had a number of discussions with employers, employer groups and unions on the impact of the shared parental leave changes on parents returning to the workplace following leave.
Many employers recognise the benefits of providing support for returning parents to enable them to retain valuable members of staff in the workplace.

John Robertson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what research she has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the comparative ability of (i) women who have given birth to a child and (ii) men to progress in their career. [167815]

Jo Swinson: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
There is a range of data in this area, from both Government and academic sources. The BIS-DWP Maternity and Paternity Rights and Women Returners survey series provides evidence on mothers' post-birth employment outcomes.

The Department has also consulted widely with employer, family and women's representative groups as part of the consultations on introducing shared parental leave, including on the impact on women's work experiences of pregnancy and maternity leave.
Data from the two most recent Maternity and Paternity Rights

Surveys suggest that:

the majority of mothers return to work;
of those who return, the majority return to the same hourly pay range as they had prior to birth;
About half of mothers who had previously worked full-time returned to full-time work;
nine out of 10 mothers who had supervisory responsibilities before the birth of their child continued to do so after.
The survey also provides information on why women do not return to work.

BIS internal analysis of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) suggests that:

the difference in employment rates between men and women increases after the birth of a child, and takes some time to recover;
the average pay gap between men and women rises after the birth of a child and doesn't fully recover.

The situation for women is improving, however. LFS data show that women's employment rate is rising over time, while ONS' Statistical Bulletin on the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings shows the gender pay gap to be falling.
Official Organisation Representative
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