By Daniel Hunter

More than half (54%) of UK workers believe that their job is under threat when they take parental leave after the birth of their children, according to research conducted ahead of The Work & Family Show.

In a survey of 1,000 parents across the UK, nearly half (42%) of women who had a baby, or were pregnant, admitted to being afraid of telling their bosses about their pregnancies as they were worried about the impact it would have on their career.

Just one in four people (26%) said they believed parents today could have it all — balancing work and family life equally.

Ben Black, Director of My Family Care, the company that conducted the research, said: “This research shows that we still have a long way to go in educating both employers and employees on the importance of work/life balance. Companies have evolved dramatically over the past five years alone, with the popularity of flexible and remote working, and more companies looking at ways they can support their caring workforce via emergency childcare and the like.

"However, there is still a stigma surrounding maternity and paternity leave that needs to be shattered and it’s only through education, debate and new laws — including Shared Parental Leave coming into force in April — that this can be done.”

Nicola Huelin, Founder of CEO Mums, a network for women who want to start up their own business, said: “Whilst things may be improving and will vary from one industry and company to another, the reality is there are so many women out there who were made redundant or felt they were unfairly dismissed during their maternity leave or soon after their return. This has forced many women to start up their own businesses with great success but it’s terrible that this is still the norm and things will need to change as fathers take a much more active role in the upbringing of their children and companies see the value of looking after your staff.”