New Parents Say They Want More Paid Leave, Feel Pressured to Return to Work Too Soon After Baby

11.13.18

Offering family-friendly workplace policies is a great first step toward becoming a Family Forward workplace. But ensuring your workplace culture allows parents to take advantage of the policies you offer is equally important.

In a 2018 SimplyHired survey of more than 1,100 current and prospective parents, the majority of working parents say they contend with a lack of paid leave, pressure to return to work soon after a baby is born and stress over career consequences for taking time off.

Even with paid leave policies in place, parents say they feel pressure to return to work and suffer career consequences from taking leave.   

  • Both mothers and fathers who have access to paid maternity or paternity leave take an average of four weeks off. Major medical associations in the US recommend a minimum of six to 12 weeks of paid leave for new mothers.
  • Parents who make $100,000 or more are able to take nearly double the leave of parents who make less than $100,000. On average, women making less than $100,000 per year took an average of 17 days following a birth or adoption, and women making more than $100,000 took an average of 30 days. On average, men making less than $100,000 per year took an average of 15 days following a birth or adoption, and men making more than $100,000 took an average of 25 days.
  • More than half of mothers (53 percent) and 36 percent of fathers surveyed say the leave offered by their employer is insufficient.
  • One in three mothers and fathers feel they’ve been overlooked for a promotion as a result of taking maternity or paternity leave.
  • One in five mothers and fathers feel pressured to return to work early or not to take all the leave their employer offers.

For parents without paid leave, quitting their current job or leaving the workforce altogether is a real consideration.  

  • Nearly one in three mothers (27 percent) and 10 percent of fathers who do not have access to paid maternity or paternity leave plan to leave their job as soon as their child is born.
  • Fourteen percent of soon-to-be mothers and fathers plan to leave their job for a new one with leave benefits.