2 in 5 Canadian mothers not given financial top-ups for mat leave

Many mothers feel anxious, stressed and overwhelmed about returning to work after giving birth: survey

2 in 5 Canadian mothers not given financial top-ups for mat leave

There’s a large room for improvement when it comes to the support Canadian employers offer their female workers during their maternity days, according to a recent report.

Overall, nearly half of mothers report dissatisfaction with their organizations' support during maternity leave, reports Maturn.

Nearly two in five (39 per cent) of the Canadian respondents say they did not receive employer financial top-up during their maternity leave. Also, 59 per cent of those who received financial top-up were not offered other benefits such as coaching programs, counselling or childcare assistance.

Overall, the employment rate of mothers with young children in one-parent families in Canada is 62 per cent, Maturn reports, citing data from Statistics Canada (StatCan).

As a result, a third of mothers contemplated leaving their jobs due to inadequate support.

“Maternity leave payment is extremely low; even if mothers would like to nurture their babies for longer than 12 months, it is a real burden from the financial point of view,” says one respondent to Marturn’s survey of over 1,000 mothers. 

On top of that, only 6.2 per cent of respondents say their employer offered childcare in the workplace.

Working parents need help, according to a previous report.

How to support someone returning to work after maternity leave?

Mothers feel a lot of mental strain when returning to work after a maternity leave, according to Maturn’s report titled Expecting More: The Motherhood Penalty and Its Impact on Canadian Women in the Workplace.

Many mothers feel anxious (52 per cent), stressed (43 per cent) and overwhelmed (41 per cent) about returning to work after giving birth.

A third (33 per cent) also say the most challenging part of maternity leave related to their career is a loss of confidence in their abilities. In comparison, nearly half (49 per cent) cite the feeling of having to prove themselves upon their return and 36 per cent cite the fear of their organization sidelining them.

Here’s how not to treat a pregnant employee.

But there are things that could have made the transition to and from maternity leave better for mothers. These include:

  • 47 per cent say an overall transition and communications plan would have made their transition to maternity leave and return to work better.
  • 50 per cent say they need help juggling motherhood and leadership.
  • 43 per cent say overall flexibility would have made their transition to maternity leave and return to work better.

The report underscores “the need for systemic change to combat the motherhood penalty in Canadian workplaces,” says Maturn in the report. 

“Despite progress, working mothers face significant barriers, from insufficient maternity leave support to a lack of childcare and flexible work arrangements,” it says.

In this issue, the importance of promoting shared parental leave needs further emphasis, according to the group.

“This approach transcends traditional family structures and recognizes the diversity of modern families, including same-sex couples. Facilitating shared parental leave is a fundamental step toward dismantling the unconscious biases that often designate caregiving responsibilities based on gender. This champions equality and supports the active involvement of all parents in child-rearing years, challenging outdated norms and fostering a more inclusive environment for all families.”

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