Many working mums would leave their jobs if they were refused flexible working

woman baby

Over a fifth of working mums have been forced to leave their jobs because a flexible working request was turned down, according to the's 2015 Annual Survey. Nearly a half (49%) of respondents think employers discriminate against working mums.

The research highlights the importance of flexible working for mothers, with 58% saying it is the most important factor for their career progression – and 38% of those still on maternity leave saying they would not return to their jobs if flexible working wasn't granted, causing huge issues for employee retention.

Flexible working can now be requested by any employee – however, employers have a less rigid timetable during which they must assess claims, and there is no statutory right to appeal if a request is turned down.

Of those who had flexible working turned down, over half said they felt the reasons given were unjustified. Over half (56%) of those surveyed said they would be willing to accept less pay if granted flexibility.

The greatest demand, according to the research, is homeworking, with working mothers citing it as the most valued form of flexible working and the most likely to encourage women to work full time. 

Gillian Nissim, founder of, said: “The survey results show how important flexible working in all its forms is to working mums. There are some jobs in which it is easier to offer certain forms of flexibility, but our work in highlighting best practice shows that there is room for a lot of creative thinking on how to make work culture more family-friendly.”