Working mothers 'feel shoved aside'
Mothers often feel "shoved aside" in the workplace because they have had children, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has warned.
He said the problem was "far too common" and was not only unfair but also bad for the economy.
The Liberal Democrat leader said there was a need to dramatically change working practices to adapt to the realities of modern family life.
Mr Clegg's comments came as a survey showed three-quarters of women who returned to work after having a child thought it made it harder to progress in their career.
The survey of 1,029 users of parenting site Mumsnet also found 60% of women felt less employable since having a child.
During pregnancy 17% of respondents felt that their employer of manager was not supportive, a figure which rose to 25% when asked about support on their return to work.
Mr Clegg said: " It is sadly still far too common for women to feel shoved aside at work because they've decided to have children. Aside from the obvious unfairness, it's also bad for our economy, which means everybody ends up losing out."
Mumsnet has recognised the efforts of five firms that consistently met family friendly criteria for employees, customers and for their internal policies.
The winners of Mumsnet's gold Family Friendly Awards were: Metro Bank, Matalan, Butlin's, Pizza Express and Starcom MediaVest Group.
Mr Clegg said: "T here are many employers out there who do understand the need to retain the best staff and who want to help families better balance work and home. The companies being recognised today set a shining example.
"Modern families come in every thinkable shape and size. In many cases mothers want to work and fathers want to spend more time at home.
"We need to dramatically update our working practices to accommodate these realities, helping families juggle their lives as they see fit.
"That is why from April 2015, the coalition Government is introducing shared parental leave to ensure career options remain open to women after pregnancy."
Mumsnet chief executive Justine Roberts said: " While we have legislation designed to protect women against discrimination in the workplace it's clear that in many cases companies are simply not following the rules."
She added: " Our sur vey reveals how important the culture created at work is... But with over half of mums saying they felt less employable and three-quarters saying it was harder to progress in their career since having children, it's clear there's still lots of work to be done to ensure family-friendly practices are commonplace."
Shadow women's minister Gloria De Piero said: " It's time to stop penalising women who want to have a family and a career. It's a waste of women's talents and bad for business too.
"We need to strengthen the law against maternity discrimination and support mums and dads to balance work with having a family. But with the cost of nursery places 30% higher and 578 fewer Sure Start Centres under David Cameron it's no wonder mums are feeling the strain.
"That's why Labour would extend free nursery places for three and four-year-olds from 15 to 25 hours a week for working parents and give a legal guarantee to parents that they will have access to breakfast and after-school clubs whilst their children are at primary school."