A LEADING Worcestershire employment lawyer is encouraging women to stand up for their rights, when they return to work from maternity leave.

Associate solicitor Kate Jones, from county solicitors Mfg, saying too many new mothers feel intimidated and daunted about returning to the workplace after up to a year away caring for their babies.

Research by the government and the equality and human rights commission say half of mothers reported a negative impact on their careers, such as being treated with less respect or being given duties at a lower level to their job. Around a fifth experienced harassment or negative comments about pregnancy or flexible working.

Mrs Jones, who herself has just returned from a second period of maternity leave, said: “This research has revealed unacceptable discrimination and shows new mothers have to be ready to tackle potential problems head on at work.

“It’s natural to feel nervous about going back after a long absence and worry about any changes.

"New mums can go back in for up to 10 days, called keep in touch days, spread at any point throughout their leave without losing statutory maternity pay."