Only 20% of working mums are happy with their working hours, according to a Workingmums.co.uk poll.
The poll of 170 women found that 32% felt they were doing fewer hours than they would like or had had their hours cut. However, 48% were doing more hours than they wanted.
Some working mums complained that they were working longer than their contracted hours. One said: “My job is supposed to be a job share, but I have been covering a full time role for nearly a year now over three days…only now to be told I can only continue if I take it up full time again…” Another said she was basically doing the job of two people.
Although the number of employers offering flexible working is increasing, Workingmums.co.uk has had a lot of emails to its legal experts recently complaining that flexible working has been denied while they are coming back from maternity leave. In many cases, the flexible working legislation has not been followed.
It sets out a timetable for considering flexible working requests and the grounds on which a request can be turned down: if they can demonstrate an inability to rearrange work among existing staff, if they can show flexible working will incur a financial burden on their company; if it will have a detrimental effect on their ability to meet customer demand and if they can show they will be unable to recruit additional staff and that the request will have a serious impact on the employee’s performance or quality of work.
Meanwhile, Office for National Statistics figures show a big rise in recent months in the number of people who are underemployed – doing fewer hours than they would like. According to figures released this month, the number of employees and self-employed people who were working part-time because they could not find a full-time job increased by 24,000 on the quarter to reach 1.42 million, the highest figure since comparable records began in 1992.
A report by the TUC shows women are more likely to be under-employed than men, with around one in eight employed women finding themselves without enough hours.