Social enterprise launches to support new mothers and employers during maternity leave

Social enterprise launches to support new mothers and employers during maternity leave


A new social enterprise for working mothers has launched, dedicated to improving maternity leave and supporting perinatal mental health.


The Maternity Pledge is a new initiative for employers to assist their staff through maternity leave and their return to work by committing to five simple pillars which have been designed to improve staff wellbeing and retention.


This venture will help employers navigate the legal requirements of pregnancy in the workplace and maternity leave, as well as provide enhanced care for their staff so that employees are better equipped to return to the workplace. Over half of women don’t currently feel they have the confidence to return to work after maternity leave[1] and of those who do 60% leave their jobs after they return.[2]


The free to join enterprise includes a complementary handbook and policy templates to give the employer everything they need to stick to the pledge and ensure a successful return to work. All employers who join the pledge receive a digital badge to display their commitment to pregnant employees and new mothers.


The five pillars of the pledge

  1. Fulfil the legal requirement for pregnancy in the workplace and maternity leave and give my employee the support they need to do their job so they feel safe and secure in their work environment
  2. Create a maternity leave and return to work plan with my employee so they know what to expect before they go on maternity leave and understand that they can make changes to the plan during their maternity leave
  3. Communicate effectively with all my employees about how maternity leave works, how it will affect them and their role in the business
  4. Help my employee maintain an emotional connection with the workplace so they do not feel anxious about being on maternity leave and their subsequent return to work
  5. Support their return to work with as much flexibility and care for their wellbeing as possible


The Maternity Pledge can help employers retain staff as well as support employees’ perinatal mental health. The pledge includes unique support packs for pregnant employees which focus on the transition to motherhood, otherwise known as matrescence. A term largely unknown but acknowledged as the way to describe the transformative experience of becoming a mother.


Susannah Dale, founder of The Maternity Pledge says: “Motherhood is a time of transition and with that comes a complex mix of emotions which all new mothers experience to some degree. This is tricky enough to navigate on its own, but can be even more stress-inducing when you add in the anxiety about going on and returning from maternity leave. Our workplace pledge and complementary handbook encourage employers to support pregnant employees and new mothers, and our Matrescence Packs provide unique information and tools to support perinatal mental health. Our Matrescence Club, available to new mothers on maternity leave, provides wellbeing advice and back to work guidance and coaching to give mothers the confidence to go back into the workplace and reclaim their identity.”


A recent Careers after Babies study by flexible working hub That Works For Me highlighted the stark impact maternity leave can have on women’s careers with only 24% returning to full time work after maternity leave and of those, 57% left in two years with 11% citing ill mental health, 19% redundancy and 36% unsustainability as the reasons.


Jess Heagren, founder of That Works For Me says: “Most businesses are not holding on to talented and skilled women after they have children. The results of our research showed that 85% of mothers leave the full-time workforce within 3 years of having their first child. 19% leave the workforce altogether. Employers must and can do better. Our study found that maternity leave could be improved if employers have accessible policies that can be tailored to individual needs, if they communicate legal rights openly and honestly and work with experts to get policies and practices right and fair. They should educate and coach line managers ahead of highly sensitive conversations, encourage shared parental leave and include all employees on maternity and paternity leave in all communications. Simple practices that could make a world of difference.”


The Maternity Pledge was borne out of personal experience, research and interviews with other mothers and experts. It offers a unique support system of information and tools for employers and employees. Employers can register to join the pledge online at


The Maternity Pledge contact: / 07535007276


Careers After Babies Study by That Works For Me can be requested via


[1] Understanding Society, 2018

[2], 2018

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