One quarter (24%) of women on maternity leave are not offered the same training opportunities as their colleagues, according to research published today.
During maternity leave, employers and new mothers can agree to have up to 10 keeping-in-touch (KIT) days, which can be used for a range of purposes, including training.
Yet, just one in six women (16%) were given the option to use one or more of their KIT days for training. This is despite 72% of women seeing training as one of the key ways to help women successfully head back to work after having a family.
The research, from digital learning provider Avado, also showed that a third of women (32%) who have taken maternity leave in the past three years said they would have felt more prepared returning to work if they had the option to do some training.
Amy Crawford, managing director of Avado said: “Maternity leave is a delicate time for employees and employers which is why it’s essential that both parties openly talk about how best to navigate this period of change. While some women want to take time away from work to focus on their family, many feel abandoned and like a forgotten resource the minute they walk out the door.
“If businesses want to make sure they’re retaining the best talent, they need to make sure women feel valued while they’re away. One way is by offering new mothers training opportunities while they’re taking a career break and with the advent of online learning, women have the flexibility to complete courses from their own home and in their own time.”
Four-fifths (81%) said they would like the flexibility to undertake training online so they can complete courses from their own home and in their own time.
In addition, 29% of mothers would have felt better connected with their team members and for 24% training would have allowed them to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in their industry.