- Women are 10 times more likely than men to temporarily leave the workforce when they become parents, according to the responses of more than 2,500 parents in a Merrill Lynch and Age Wave study. Women also are more likely to quit their jobs for those offering more flexibility, whereas men switch jobs for higher pay, better benefits or more hours.
- Study results showed that while most respondents said they equally divide household and parenting duties, women are eight times more likely than men to watch over a sick child and manage the kids' schedules. Two-thirds of the men polled said they wish they had taken off more time when their children were born.
- Women generally faced more financial challenges than men, the study found; they contributed less to their 401(k)s and had fewer investments than men. The results showed that parents spend twice as much money on their adult children than they do saving for retirement. Those polled also said the state of their finances determine their decision when, or if, to have children.
Similar polls indicate that working parents are feeling the stress of parenthood, which can put a strain on their health, careers and finances. In a study by the Business Performance Innovation Network and PollFish, 60% of 2,000 parents admitted experiencing burnout, and 40% said their lives were significantly affected by it. All employees, parents and childless workers alike, must avoid burnout, and employers have a role in helping them manage stress and stay healthy and productive through wellbeing programs.
Employers like PwC have stepped in to help parents when a new child arrives by providing a phased return to work program that helps new mothers and fathers make the transition. "Keep-in-touch" programs can also help women transition back to work from leave by pairing new moms with coworkers who keep them up to date on workplace projects and activities.
Employers also can support working parents by taking note of when other companies and competitors are rewarded for their family-oriented benefits, perks and practices. Working Women magazine recently released its 2018 list for best workplaces for working mothers, naming Unilever to the top spot. The winning companies provided paid maternity and paternity leave, phased back to work programs and telecommuting, among other benefits.