Mum Friendly Workplaces

77% of Mums say they have had negative or discriminatory experience on their return to work after having children. While maternity rights are protected, many women and employers remain unaware of how they relate to their circumstances.

Maternity discrimination (intentional or unintentional) is still commonplace, resulting in many women feeling they have to leave their jobs entirely. This issue affects women, their families, and the businesses missing out on their important skills and contributions.

We led a project called ‘Mums Returning to Work’, which involved working with mums and businesses to get to the heart of the issue, and find solutions that improve the workplace for everyone. Together we did research and tried out different ideas, learning from what’s already working well in businesses which employ lots of women and mums.

Centring working mums’ experiences, we put together learning materials for employers, including videos and a self-assessment test. The project also created resources with advice for mums, from mums.

The shared vision is for all workplaces in Scotland to listen, learn, check in on their policy and practices, and create Mum Friendly cultures so women aren’t excluded or undervalued.

We are a certified Mum Friendly Workplace badge

What we're doing

We’re now sharing learning and experience from Mum Friendly Workplaces, so every organisation can improve their Mum-Friendly cultures and best practice. The resources have been used across different sectors to shift the culture towards valuing everyone’s rights and wellbeing needs, underpinned by the Fair Work principles and women’s intersectional experiences at work.

Explore the Mum Friendly Workplaces free learning resources

Visit the Mum Friendly Workplaces employer’s page for information about maternity leave, the law, and your responsibilities when an employee is pregnant, returning to work or experiencing perinatal depression.

Take the Mum Friendly Workplaces test, to build your understanding of topics like breastfeeding, discrimination, and better supporting women returning to work.

Read the Guide for Working Mums, for information about maternity rights, perinatal mental wellbeing, flexible work and more.

We also support organisations on their journeys to become Mum Friendly Workplaces. We consult with staff and management teams, and support the implementation of practical solutions tailored to your context and needs. To learn more about the project or find out about Mum Friendly Workplace training and development support, get in touch with Louise Willson at

The impact it's having so far

Workplaces including Ace Place, Indigo Group, Cadzow Nursery, Support Choices and MILK Cafe have taken part in Mum Friendly learning and development work and assessment, earning the Mum Friendly Workplace badge. The badge is awarded to organisations which can evidence that relevant policies are informed by working mums’ experiences, there are avenues for having a say, and the culture and practice support workers’ needs for wellbeing, respect and equality at work. Numerous other organisations have benefitted from the free learning materials, or attended learning sessions to explore how Mum Friendly practices can work in their contexts.

Feedback from Mum Friendly Workplaces

“We are delighted to be recognised as a Mum Friendly Workplace. Our team have worked hard to ensure all mums feel secure and welcome at ACE Place, and our policies to support this are all the stronger as a result of working with Outside the Box.”
Ashleigh, Nursery and Out of School Care Manager
The Mums Returning to Work project has been really helpful to focus our minds on how accessible and inclusive we are as an employer – it is about inclusive workplace practice and wellbeing across the team.”
Jaqueline, Chief Executive of Indigo Group.

What difference could Mum Friendly working practices make for you?

We encourage you to explore the resources, start conversations with your colleagues, and think of simple ways to improve how your workplace supports people through pregnancy, leave, parenting, and the return to work after a gap.

  • Are there topics your team needs to learn about and better understand? For example: reasonable accommodations, breastfeeding at work, non-discrimination.


  • Are there policies (including practices which are not written down) which discriminately impact pregnant employees, parents or mums returning to work? For example: inflexible start and end times, lower salaries for part-time workers, fewer career progression opportunities for part time workers or those with fewer formal qualifications.


  • Are there dynamics in the workplace culture which make it harder for mums? For example: Pressure to accept out of hours work on short notice, negativity around reasonable accommodations, social events only taking place in the evening.


  • Does the recruitment process fully value the skills and experiences people develop through being a carer?


  • Could the workplace better support workers’ mental health and wellbeing? Consider any negative factors, such as common stressors in the work context, and the positive factors enabling good wellbeing, such as friendships at work or good management and appraisal.


Mums Returning to Work

Mums Returning To Work Training Support Pack

View resource

Mums Returning To Work Pregnancy Timeline

View resource

Mums Returning To Work Pregnancy Timeline Poster

View resource

Mums' mental health and wellbeing

Mums Mental Health and Wellbeing Report

View resource

Mums Returning To Work – Good Practice Guide

View resource

Mums Returning to Work Guide

View resource

Mums Returning to Work Discussion Paper

View resource