Most mothers of children ages 18 and younger are part of the workforce, with 71% of this population actively working or looking for work, according to the latest stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For these working moms, balancing work and home life is never easy, but there are some job benefits that can make this juggling act a bit more tenable. In this “Financially Savvy Female” column, we’re chatting with experts about the benefits every working mom should have access to.
Child Care Benefits
A 2018 survey conducted by the Center for American Progress found that working mothers with young children were 40% more likely than working dads to report that child care issues have negatively impacted their careers. That’s because child care responsibilities often fall on women. There are a variety of child care benefits that employers can offer to help working mothers thrive.
“Working mothers need access to quality child care options that they can afford,” said Jessica Chang, co-founder and CEO at WeeCare, a resource for affordable child care. “Employer-sponsored child care programs can help with child care search, and offer tuition support and backup care. Child care benefits are vital for decreasing employee absenteeism, attracting new talent, increasing team satisfaction and reducing employee turnover.”
Flexible Work Schedules
“Demand for flexibility has increased due to the pandemic, but for working moms today, it’s a must,” said Jenna Estlick, an HR and executive search expert at Versique. “The ability to work when and where it suits moms best makes everything less stressful. I truly believe what happens at home impacts work. Providing mothers with the ability to flex their working hours and environment around their family’s needs will enhance their productivity and overall job satisfaction. It’s a win-win for mothers and businesses alike.”
Mental Health Support
As a mother herself, Estlick notes that being a working mother can be emotionally draining. That’s why she believes it’s important for employers to offer mental health support as a benefit.
“Providing direct access to mental health professionals can make mothers feel supported by their employers,” she said. “It’s a benefit that goes a long way in showing teams how much their leaders care for them as a people, not just employees.”
Paid Maternity Leave
Only 23% of American workers currently have access to paid family leave, according to the latest stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But having to take unpaid time off to take care of a newborn child can be financially devastating for many women.
“Financial stability is crucial,” said Nabila Salem, president of Revolent, which specializes in cloud talent creation. “Mothers are all impacted while on maternity leave, but offering some paid leave is essential in order to retain them long term. Paid maternity leave is the first step in ensuring a woman can afford to become a parent and has adequate time raising her child from early days, as well as a chance to rest and recover.”
Salem believes paid leave should also be extended to the partner or co-parent.
“The ability to have a co-parent also take paid leave can be instrumental in terms of both financial stability and the balancing of parental responsibilities,” she said.
GOBankingRates wants to empower women to take control of their finances. According to the latest stats, women hold $72 billion in private wealth — but fewer women than men consider themselves to be in “good” or “excellent” financial shape. Women are less likely to be investing and are more likely to have debt, and women are still being paid less than men overall. Our “Financially Savvy Female” column will explore the reasons behind these inequities and provide solutions to change them. We believe financial equality begins with financial literacy, so we’re providing tools and tips for women, by women, to take control of their money and help them live richer lives.
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