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One in four young mothers have suffered discrimination after their employer found out they were pregnant, a new study reveals.

A survey of mothers aged 16 to 24 also found that two out of five had been asked in job interviews about how having children would affect their ability to work.

The Young Women’s Trust said its poll of over 300 women showed that most believed employers’ attitudes towards pregnant women or mothers with young children played an important role in looking for work.

One in four had requests to work flexibly turned down.

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton said: “The level of discrimination that Young Women’s Trust has uncovered against young mothers who are in work or looking for jobs is shocking.

“It is in everyone’s interest to help young mothers who want to work. As our findings show, young mothers have a huge amount to contribute to their workplaces and many want to be financially independent and support their families.

“Tackling discrimination would benefit mums, businesses and the economy as a whole.

“Employers should value young mothers’ contributions to their workplaces and do more to accommodate them, including by offering more flexible and part-time working opportunities.”

Employment minister Damian Hinds said: “Many businesses are taking this issue seriously and it is imperative that more employers do the same.

“Not only is it the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do as well to ensure that they aren’t missing out on talent and diversity within their workforce.”