• Belinda Madzima

Belma Services Limited Joins Working Forward

Today, Belma Services has officially become a member of Working Forward, a nationwide initiative launched by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) which encourages businesses to adopt best practice for pregnant women and new parents in the workplace.

Working Forward is a coalition backed by some of the UK’s leading businesses and industry bodies, including Barclays, BT Group, Ford, HSBC, Royal Mail and Transport for London, among others. These members recognise the pressing need to eliminate maternity-related discrimination and disadvantage in the workplace, and the value that such action has in attracting, developing and retaining parents.

Areas of Work that Belma Services Limited has signed up to:

· Pledged to concrete actions pthat focus on leadership, employee confidence, supporting managers and flexible working

· Wider steps taken to show commitment to diversity, inclusiveness and gender equality

David Isaac, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:

We are thrilled to welcome Belma Services Limited as our latest member and look forward to working with their team on generating real positive change within their business.

“Discriminating against women at work because they are pregnant or newly returned from maternity leave is simply unacceptable. That is why we are calling on employers across the UK to sign up to the Working Forward pledge, which is free to join.

“By doing the right thing, companies can improve their bottom line and gain a competitive edge when they encourage and support female staff. Attracting, developing, and retaining talent, regardless of gender, is absolutely critical for the UK economy.

"Our Working Forward members all recognise the importance of women in their workforces, the contributions they make, and the value they add. Together, we want to raise the bar across the business community and ultimately improve the experiences of employers and employees.”

Belinda Madzima, Managing Director for Belma Services Limited explains why they have committed to Working forward and why this is important:

“ Small Business managers need training, support and resources to move organisations forward in their journey to become fully family-friendly employers. This involves creating workplaces that see flexibility as an opportunity rather than a weakness. Giving managers the skills and confidence to communicate and manage pregnant women and new parents successfully is a win-win for both sides, and the organisation as a whole.

“Below is an outline of plans we have in place to take forward this initiative:

  • preparing for maternity leave and return to work

  • applying policies and procedures fairly and consistently

  • effective communication and confidence with key conversations

  • dispelling negative myths about flexible working

  • tackling unconscious bias

  • setting appropriate objectives for job design and workload

  • managing geographically dispersed teams

  • buddying and peer-to-peer support programmes.”

The Working Forward initiative was launched following research commissioned by the EHRC which found a number of new and expectant mothers face maternity-related disadvantage and discrimination in the workplace:

• 77% report a negative or discriminatory experience during pregnancy, maternity leave or return to work

• 41% report a risk or impact to their health or welfare

• 20% experience harassment or negative comments related to pregnancy or flexible working

• 11% felt forced to leave their job

Women make up half of the nation’s workforce, with over 15 million women active in the UK labour market at any time. Findings show that if women's participation in the labour market increased to roughly the same as men’s, it would add 10% to the size of the economy by 2030. In addition, more than two million women who are not working want to work and over one and half million women in work would like to do more hours.

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