Study: Working Moms Taking Less Maternity Leave

Chicago — May 9

The struggle to balance career and family starts in the earliest stages of parenthood, according to CareerBuilder’s annual study of working moms.

One-in-four (26 percent) working moms who have had a child in the last three years reported they did not take the full maternity leave allowed by their company. One-in-ten took two weeks or less.

The national survey, conducted by Harris Interactive from Feb. 9 to March 2, included 601 working mothers and 729 working fathers with children 18 and under who are living with them.

Competitive work environments and demanding positions may be causing more women to reduce their time off from work after delivery, the survey suggests. While most working moms who’ve had a child in the last three years (44 percent) reported taking more than eight weeks of maternity leave, 12 percent said they took two weeks or less. Forty percent were off work for six weeks or less.

Financial pressures are also playing a key role in how moms are managing time at work. Thirty-nine percent of working moms and 43 percent of working dads surveyed reported that they are the sole financial provider in their household. Working dads who are the sole breadwinner were almost twice as likely to earn $50,000 or more and were approximately three times as likely to earn six figures as working moms. Women were much more likely to earn less than $35,000 compared to men.

Women continue to feel the tug of war between the office and home, the survey found, wishing for more time to balance both. One-in-four (25 percent) working moms feel they have to choose between their children and being successful at their jobs. Twenty-four percent reported they have missed three or more significant events in their children’s lives in the last year due to work obligations.

When asked how much time they’re able to spend with their children during the work week, half of working moms said they average around four hours of quality time each day. However, nearly three-in-ten reported they get to spend two hours or less with their children each day.

Source: CareerBuilder