Knowledge Center

Today, the majority of American workers have some type of family caregiving responsibility.  In 2012, the majority of American women between 15 and 50 were mothers.1

A recent report states that 65% of fathers believe that caregiving should be a shared responsibility between partners (but only 30% admitted that caregiving is actually divided equally).2

 

 

  • In 2013, the overall labor force participation rate of all mothers with children under 18 was 69.9%, compared to 92.8% of all fathers with children under 18. 3

 

  • The labor force participation rate of married mothers with children under 3 years old increased from 32.7% in 1975 to 60.3% in 2009.4

 

 

Mothers

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA) mandates that pregnant women employees be treated the same as other employees (with temporary medical disabilities) and employers cannot discrimate against pregnant women in hiring, promotion, or dismissal.5 

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) , job security is protected during leave taken for an employee’s  pregnancy and childbirth or the care of the employee’s newly born, adopted, or foster child. Employees are guaranteed up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually.6

 

 

Only  California, New Jersey and Rhode Island, offer paid family and medical leave.7

 

According to the 2013 Benefits Survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, organizations provide the following employee family friendly benefits to their employees.8

Lactation room   34%
Bring child to work in emergency   26%
FMLA (above required federal FMLA)   26%
Paid maternity leave (other than what is covered by short term disability)   16%
Paid Adoption Leave   16%
Child care referral service   12%
Access to back up childcare   4%
Access subsidized childcare center   3%
On-ramping programs for parents re-entering the
workforce
  1%

 

 

  • In Fiscal Year 2011, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 5,797 charges of pregnancy-based discrimination. 9
  • 62.1% of women who had given birth in the last 12 months were in the labor force.10
    • 53.3% were employed11
    • 8.8% were unemployed.12
  • According to a 2013 Pew Research study, part-time is the ideal work situation that most American mothers with children under 18 at home prefer.13

Fathers

  • According to the 2013 Benefits Survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, 15% of organizations offered paid paternity leave (down from 17% in 2010).14
  •  According to new research from the Center of Work and Family, 89% of male respondents indicated that paid paternity leave was very important when seeking new employment15
    • 86% of  respondents  would not make use of paternity leave unless at least 70% of their salaries were paid.16
    • Of those who did take leave, more than 90% reported that they spent time caring for their new children and changing diapers.17
    • 50% of fathers who took parental leave, made themselves available to their employers for any urgent work issues.18
 
  • A Families and Work Institute survey found that the average maximum job-guaranteed leave for men following the birth of their child decreased from 13.1 weeks in 1998 to 12.6 weeks in 2008.19

Family Responsibility Discrimination

  • Family Responsibility Discrimination, or FRD, is a form of sex discrimination against employees due to their family-caring responsibilities for children (including during pregnancy), elderly parents, or ill relatives. Despite good performance, employees who are victims of FRD might be:20
    • Passed over for a promotion or a position; 
    • Victims of pay discrimination; 
    • Harassed; 
    • Fired; 
    • Experiencing a hostile work environment;
    • Failing to promote qualified employees with children in lieu of promotions to women without children or to fathers  21
  •  FRD cases have risen over 400% between 1995 and 2005. 22

Canada

  • Between 1961 and 2011 demographic changes in Canada's families include an increase in single family households from 8.4% to 16.3%, an increase in the the number of common-law couples  from 5.6% to 16.7%, and a decrease in family size from 2.7 to 1.9 children per household. 23
Working Mothers in Canada
  • The labor force participation rate for mothers has increased from 39.1% in 1976 to 72.9% in 2009. 24
    • The rate for working women with children under three has increased from 27.6% in 1976 to 64.4% in 2009.25
    • Single mothers are less likely to be employed than mothers living in a two-parent household. 26
Working Fathers in Canada
  • The percentage of fathers living in an intact family has dropped from 76.0% in 1995 to 74.3% in 2006. 27
  • 29% of fathers took parental leave in 2011. 28
  • Of lone parent households in 2011, 21% were headed by a father. 29
  • The Parental Benefits Program allows 35 weeks of shared paid parental leave by qualifying parents paid within 52 weeks of the week the child was born or adopted.30

Europe

 

EUROPEAN UNION, HOUSEHOLD TYPE IN WHICH CHILDREN UNDER 18 LIVE (2013, or most recent data available)31

Country

Single Parent

2 Parents Married

Denmark

22.9%

60.6%

Finland

13.9%

66.8%

France

22.0%

55.5%

Germany

15.4%

76.2%

Italy

12.0%

81.7%

Spain

14.3%

75.6%

Sweden

16.6%

58.2%

United Kingdom

24.0%

61.5%

Netherlands 12.6% 72.4*
Norway 18.2% 58.1%
Austria 18.9% 73.0%

 

 

* Data is for the most recent date available.

 

Global

  •  In Australia in 2012, 15% of all households are one parent families (84% of these one parent households run by women). 32
    • In 1973 the Supporting Mother’s Benefit legislation was introduced specifically targeted to single mothers and in 1977, it expanded to cover single fathers.33
  • In China, the employment rate of mothers (age 25-34) with children under the age of 6 is 72.0% which is10.9% lower than women in the same age group with no children.34
  • In India, 792,950 children benefited from Creches in 2009: (preschool education, supplementary nutrition and recreation that benefits children of working mothers).35
    • India has the lowest divorce rate in the world which makes single parenting not a large problem. But the divorce rate is expected to increase significantly.36
  • In 2006, 82.7% of all children in India lived with both parents. 8.5% lived only with the mother (but the father still alive).37
  • In Japan, between 2005-2009, 43.9% of women left the paid workforce after their first child. 17.1% contintued to work using Child Care Leave Policy. 26.1% of women wanted to continue to work but found it difficult to balance work and childcare.38
    • In 2011, 2.63% of men used Child Care Leave Policy.39
    • 87.7% of children under 14 live with both parents.40

PERCENTAGE OF COMPANIES OFFERING EMPLOYER PROVIDED CHILDCARE/OTHER DOMESTIC SUPPORT41

 

Country

With Employee on Parental Leave

With No Employees on Parental Leave

Austria

6%

7%

Denmark

5%

4%

Germany

5%

3%

Finland

7%

4%

France

7%

8%

Italy

2%

2%

Spain

8%

3%

Sweden

3%

3%

United Kingdom

17%

17%

 

 

How to cite this product: Catalyst. Catalyst Quick Take: Working Parents. New York: Catalyst, 2012.