The recession has had a huge impact on working families around the country, with 48% of women saying they have lost their job and 8% saying they have become the main breadwinner as a result, according to a www.workingmums.co.uk
poll of over 900 women.
The poll of 925 women shows that 10% are working fewer hours than before the recession, 6% are working more hours and only 11% say their working life has been unaffected.
One woman commented: “I am a mother of 2 children and this month my gas and electric bill adds up to 450 pounds. How am I supposed to pay with no job?”
Another said: “My husband works in a Sales environment that has been hit hard by the recession, which has seen his mainly commission-based salary effectively halved since the recession. I’m unable to work whilst my toddler son is too young for school, as we can’t afford the childcare costs and don’t have any willing grandparents near enough to us to babysit. We’re literally living hand-to-mouth each month – I never ever thought we’d end up this poor without being jobless and on benefits.”
Several said that they had had flexible working withdrawn as a result. One said: “On my return to work after maternity leave my company refused to let me to work child friendly hours so sadly I had no choice but to resign.”
Another commented: “My company took away our part-time contracts with the ‘option’ of either being made redundant with payment of the statutory minimum, or working full-time.”
But one woman who had had similar treatment said she had taken her company to court and won £2.5k. She advised: “Don’t take it lying down – stand up for yourselves!!!”
Others were working more hours but on the same pay, with a knock-on effect on their family life. Freelancers and contractors were finding things particularly difficult. One said: “I am freelance with 2 children. My clients have gone from 3 to 1, I can’t seem to get more and can’t get a part-time job despite applying. No contacts, my age and being part time is all against me, even though I am well qualified and well experienced.”
Another said: “I am a freelance contractor, I’m told by agents that there are at least 400 other people going for every vacancy I apply for – what chance have I got against those kinds of numbers plus I hear of people getting made redundant every month who are adding to the figures!”
Some women reported really difficult situations. One woman said: “I was pregnant at the time in a job that I hated. As I would still be entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay I was happy with this and didn’t look for alternative employment during the 3-month notice period (I would be better off financially on SMP as I would be at home with my other child so I wouldn’t have to fork out so much on childcare). I lost my baby and she was stillborn. I was no longer entitled to SMP and am now on Jobseekers Allowance. I’m still devastated at my loss and have to find a new job. Things are the worst they’ve ever been.”
But for some the recession had brought a change which, although it might bring less pay, may give them more time for their families. One woman commented: “After several years ‘managing’ working full time, I have finally resigned to try and make the life change I need. Travelling with work and a family is really for those completely dedicated to their career. I am looking for part-time work and the whole family will be adjusting to the need to watch the pennies, but as I type this on my last day, I feel 100% I’ve made the right decision.”