Maternity and parental leave were created to ensure that mothers and parents aren't penalized for leaving the workplace temporarily to raise children, but that doesn’t mean that every woman who takes mat leave will actually return to the workplace. In fact, when you look at how many mothers return to work after mat leave, about 10 percent of women don’t go back within a year, and as many as 43 percent of highly qualified women with children are leaving their careers at some point in their lifetimes. It’s clear that some women don’t return to work after having children, and today’s discussion will tackle some of the more common reasons behind this decision.
Some Employers Treat Women Who Start Families as Burdens
As unfortunate as it is, there are many employers who view maternity leave as an inconvenience that has to be addressed, and who consequently treat women professionals who want to raise families as burdens rather than assets. In environments such as this, women professionals who are also mothers often say they struggle to be taken seriously by employers and coworkers, and that their loyalty and priorities are often questioned when they return to work because of changing priorities after babies.
Why Are Women Off-Ramping? Workplace Inflexibility Makes It Tough for Women to Be Moms and Professionals
So what percent of mothers return to work after mat leave? The answer may surprise you because it’s about 90 percent. However, that doesn’t mean that all professional women who return to the workforce go back to the same fast-paced corporate jobs they had. In fact, one of the most important workplace factors that returning mothers consider is flexibility, and many corporate environments don’t offer the types of arrangements that mothers are looking for at work.
The Thought of Catching Up Can Be Overwhelming
Women who leave the workplace are often faced with a difficult decision at the end of their mat leave: continue staying home or begin the long path of making up for lost time at work. Many women take up to a year off for mat leave, and enormous changes can take place in a work environment during that time. Along with missing out on the day to day operations, you also missed new policies, training sessions, promotions, and other opportunities that have been afforded to your coworkers.
Sometimes Affordable Daycare Is Impossible to Find
For many families, full-time daycare costs more than what a new mother would bring in by returning to work after mat leave, and this leads many women to stay at home instead of going back to their jobs. In fact, the cost of daycare is among the top reasons why a woman will end up leaving the workforce to be a stay at home mom.
If you're planning to have a family or are on mat leave right now and are trying to decide if you'll go back to work, it might help to remember that returning to the workplace doesn’t necessarily mean going back to the same high-powered corporate job that you had before. Some of the best jobs after having a baby are ones that allow you to work from home, set your hours, control your schedule, and balance work and life as necessary to suit your professional goals and the needs of your family. Opportunities like a WSI digital franchise are ideal for women who want to be professionals and mothers because they allow the freedom and flexibility that facilitates both career aspirations and family growth.
Find out more about an opportunity that may make a huge difference to your professional journey by visiting WSI's Discovery Center. Choose a better life for yourself today!