Monday, September 30th, 2013
New moms are increasingly shortening their maternity leaves, citing financial and personal pressures as reasons for going back to work within weeks of giving birth. Analysis of data from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that as many as half of new mothers are shortening their leaves by half. More from Today.com:
About two-thirds of U.S. women are employed during pregnancy and about 70 percent of them report taking some time off, according to most recent figures from the National Center for Health Statistics. The average maternity leave in the U.S. is about 10 weeks, but about half of new moms took at least five weeks, with about a quarter taking nine weeks or more, figures showed.
But a closer look shows that 16 percent of new moms took only one to four weeks away from work after the birth of a child — and 33 percent took no formal time off at all, returning to job duty almost immediately.
That means more women are coping with pregnancy-weary bodies, the demands of a newborn and the demands of a boss — all before the “Welcome, Baby” flowers have wilted on the bedside table.
Research has shown that shorter leaves can interfere with recommended breastfeeding duration and may contribute to higher rates of depression among new moms.
Image: Working mom, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, February 28th, 2013
Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo who made news late last week that announced a ban on working from home beginning in June, paid to have a nursery built at her office so she can bring her infant, born last fall, to work. The revelation about the nursery is complicating the growing debate about the story, which has parents particularly up in arms about what many see as a serious threat to to work-life balance. More from Business Insider:
This upset many employees – mothers in particular.
According to All Things D’s Kara Swisher, some of these are pointing out that Mayer doesn’t understand their plight.
Mayer – who had a baby last fall – is a working mother, but she’s able to bring her kid to work.
That’s because when Mayer had her son last fall, she paid to have a nursery built in her office.
Not all Yahoo haves that kind of money or clout.
“I wonder what would happen if my wife brought our kids and nanny to work and set em up in the cube next door?,” the husband of one remote-working Yahoo employee asked Swisher.
Image: Baby in crib, via Shutterstock
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Friday, August 24th, 2012
A new study suggests that moms who work full time are healthier, both physically and mentally, than mothers who work part time, those who stay home with their kids, or those who are unemployed.
Researcher Adrianne Frech of the University of Akron examined data on more than 2,500 women who had babies between 1978 and 1995. Here’s more from UPI:
The study found women who returned full time to the workforce shortly after having children reported better mental and physical health — specifically, greater mobility, more energy and less depression at age 40.
“Work is good for your health, both mentally and physically,” Frech said in a statement. “It gives women a sense of purpose, self-efficacy, control and autonomy. They have a place where they are an expert on something, and they’re paid a wage.”
But Frech told the New York Times blog Motherlode that her study wasn’t designed to provide additional fuel for the so-called Mommy Wars. “I worry that it’s being misinterpreted as researchers saying that stay-at-home-moms made bad choices,” she said.
The mothers in the study who were the least healthy were those who were “persistently unemployed,” who struggled to find employment even if they wanted to work, UPI said.
“Struggling to hold onto a job or being in constant job search mode wears on their health, especially mentally, but also physically,” Frech said.
Image: Working mom with baby via Shutterstock.
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Friday, August 17th, 2012
Mothers who were laid off during the recession spend longer looking for new jobs than married fathers, according to a new study that was conducted using 2010 data. And when married moms did find new jobs, they experienced a decrease in earnings of $175 more per week compared with married dads. According to a release announcing the study:
The results suggest that the recent recession, dubbed the “man-cession” or “he-cession” because more men than women lost jobs, could also be viewed as a “mom-cession” as laid-off married moms had the hardest time finding new jobs.
“These findings hold true across different backgrounds, such as occupation, earnings, and work history,” said study co-author Brian Serafini, a University of Washington sociology graduate student. “This implies that laid-off moms aren’t just taking part-time jobs or seeing being laid off as a way to opt out of the workforce and embrace motherhood instead.”
Serafini and co-author Michelle Maroto, who will present their findings at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, said that their study supports the notions of a “motherhood penalty” and a “daddy bonus” in the workplace.
“Our study provides evidence of labor market discrimination against women whose family decisions may signal to employers a lack of commitment to the workplace,” said Maroto, formerly a University of Washington sociology graduate student and now an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Alberta.
Image: Mother and child at home, via Shutterstock
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Monday, August 6th, 2012
Swedish fathers currently get two months of paid paternity leave, but their government is considering whether to extend that to three months. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Sweden’s paternity-leave benefits, enjoyed by citizens and foreign residents alike, are the most generous in the world—and a debate is under way nationwide over whether to extend them even further. Sweden should require men to take a minimum of three months’ leave, instead of the current two months, some politicians argue.
Fathers currently can take off work for as long as 240 days with a government-backed paycheck. Even if a father decides to take a more modest leave than allowed, he must take at least two months before the child is 8 years old to receive the government benefits.
Scores of dads can be seen during typical business hours strolling the streets of Stockholm, Gothenburg and other big cities pushing a stroller with one hand and nursing a cup from Espresso House or Wayne’s Coffee in the other. It isn’t uncommon to see men feeding babies and changing diapers in Stockholm’s famous Djugarden park island, which is within view of some of the city’s biggest companies and financial institutions.
Since being instituted in 1974, the paternity-leave policy has evolved from being a mechanism to encourage women to join what was a depleted workforce in the 1970s, to serve as a tool for gender equality and home stability today.
The Swedish government will pay 80% of a parent’s salary—up to a cap of about $65,000—for 13 months. One parent can sign over all but two of these months to the other.
Government statistics show the vast majority of fathers take off at least the minimum two months. And about 72% of working-age women living in Sweden are employed at least part time, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Image: Father and baby, via Shutterstock
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