Women on maternity leave are denied the appropriate training opportunities when compared to colleagues at work, according to a new study.
Under current statutory rules, women on maternity leave can agree to have up to 10 keeping-in-touch (KIT) days. Among other purposes, these days can be used for training and keeping up to date with the workplace.
However, the new study, published by digital learning provider Avado, shows that just one in six women (16 per cent) were given the option to use one or more of their KIT days for training.
Likewise, a third (32 per cent) of women who have taken maternity leave in the past three years felt less prepared to return to work without the appropriate training.
Around 72 per cent of women agree that training is one of the key ways to help new mothers successfully head back into work, while 81 per cent said they would like the flexibility to undertake training online.
When asked about KIT days, 29 per cent of women said they would have felt better connected with their team members and 24 per cent said training would have allowed them to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in their industry.
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.”