Tag Archives: Childcare

Lauded for putting your family first? You must be a man – The Globe and Mail

This article notes that while successful men are lauded for stepping back from high-paid jobs to have a better work-life balance, the same is not true for women. It suggests that when women leave work for the same reasons it is understood as reflect in the inability of women to ‘have it all’.

The author notes that women “are told they need to push harder, faster and further to get ahead. When men step down, they are heroes; when women step down, they are piteous failures.”

Read more at The Globe and Mail.

Promoting uptake of parental and paternity leave among fathers in the European Union – Eurofound

This new report from Eurofound notes that the take-up rate of parental and paternity leave among fathers has been increasing across the EU but remains relatively low. This report looks at:

  • Trends in terms of take-up of parental and paternity leave
  • Existing provisions
  • Factors influencing take-up rates.

It also explores initiatives recently implemented by national authorities, governments and social partners to promote the take-up of parental and paternity leave, particularly among fathers.

It finds that while only three EU member states provide no paternal leave, it remains that where it is provided entitlements and benefits vary widely. This means that, in practice, “under the current parental and paternity leave regulations, children born in different countries have different chances of spending some time with their fathers in the first days of their lives”.

The report suggests that to increase take up of paternal leave, certain issues must be address. These include:

  • Wage replacement rates
  • Greater flexibility in terms of sharing and taking leave over time
  • Increased availability of information to potential leave takers and employers
  • Flexible return to work policies.

The report concludes by noting that promotion of equal uptake of leave by both parents will greatly contribute to a more equal participation of women and men in employment.

Read more at Eurofound.

Family friendly? How the shared parental rules affect you – The Guardian

This article provides an overview of new statutory shared parent leave rules that come into effect in the UK from 5 April. It notes that the rules are designed to challenge assumptions about the role women as the default stay-at-home parent.

New parents will be allowed to split up to 50 weeks off work after having a baby or adopting. The first two weeks has to be for mothers, after which the remaining leave can be shared or transferred to either parent. However, the right only extends to couples where both parents are working, meaning that 40% of fathers won’t be eligible because the mother doesn’t have a paid job.

However, there is also concern that replacement rates may be lower. Statutory rates are 90% of average weekly earnings for the first six weeks, then £139.58 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings – whichever is lower – for the next 33 weeks. In total, 39 of the 52 weeks will be paid. Employers often enhance maternity leave entitlements, but some suggest that they may be disinclined to do so for shared parental leave, fearing that there would be a massive take-up from eligible male employees. The TUC stresses that unless shared leave is backed up with better pay “couples simply won’t be able to afford to take it”.

Read more at The Guardian.

Work harder for gender equality, say MEPs – EU Parliament

The EU Parliament has passed a resolution stating that more progress is needed on some gender inequality issues. They highlight pay gaps, “glass ceilings” on women’s careers and a need to improve their work/life balance, including parental leave.

The resolution notes that flexible working arrangements can improve women’s participation in labour markets but can also affect wages. As such, MEPs encourage women and men to share family responsibilities. To this end, they note that fathers should have a right to at least 10 days’ paid paternity leave, and the European Commission to offer EU member states more financial support for affordable childcare systems.

Read more at EU Parliament.

Men want work-life balance too – Cosmopolitan

This article notes that while stay-at-home fathers remain relatively rare, their numbers have doubled over the past decade, from 1 to 2 million. It notes that ‘Millennial’ men are more likely to assume their partner’s careers will have equal importance to their own and are less likely to expect that female partners will do the majority of childcare.

However, it further notes that while couples that share domestic work and paid work more event are less likely to divorce, and have more sex, there remains stigma attached to men who actively balance work and family life, and that fathers ‘who talk about being a parent at work are viewed as both lesser workers and lesser men’.

Read more at Cosmopolitan

Female company president: “I’m sorry to all the mothers I worked with” – Fortune

Katharine Zaleski reflects on how her own attitudes to childcare and women the workplace has altered since having a child.

While previously she had accepted cultural norms that suggest mother’s cannot be fully committed to work, her views have altered. Particular, she notes that news kinds of flexible working, particularly remote working, can help mothers remain engaged with work while also taking care of a child – and even become more productive as a result.

Interestingly she also notes that there may need to be limits on flexible working. She notes that expectations that people will be available for last minute meetings that run outside office hours, or for after-work drinks to network and discuss projects, are examples where flexibility negatively effects work-life balance and encourages the blurring of boundaries between these domains.

Read more at Fortune.

Rethink What You “Know” About High-Achieving Women – Harvard Business Review

This article looks at the experiences of graduates from Harvard Business School’s MBA programme, to learn what they had to say about work and family and how their experiences, attitudes, and decisions might shed light on current debates about women in the workplace.

The authors found that both men and women shared similar goals and aspirations upon graduation, often citing reaching certain career levels/job titles. Today, however, family happiness, relationships, and balancing life and work, along with community service and helping others, are much more on the minds of these graduates.

However, while their goals may be equivalent across genders, this article notes that their ability to meet these aspirations has played out differently for men and women.

Among those who are employed full-time, men are more likely to “have direct reports, to hold profit-and-loss responsibility, and to be in senior management positions”. Moreover, the authors found that women are less satisfied with their careers:

Whereas about 50% to 60% of men across the three generations told us they were “extremely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their experiences of meaningful work, professional accomplishments, opportunities for career growth, and compatibility of work and personal life, only 40% to 50% of women were similarly satisfied on the same dimensions.

This is in a context where it is ‘understood’ that women are also less work-focussed, and will ‘opt-out’ of work to assume the role of primary-caregiver for children/relatives, despite evidence that high proportion of women remain in full-time work. Indeed, most men surveyed assumed their careers would take priority over their opposite-sex spouse, and even for the women who had egalitarian career expectations, around half also assumed that they would perform most of the child care in their families.

The article concludes by suggesting that men, organisations and women need to overcome myths and assumptions about women’s attitudes towards work, and role as primary caregiver.

 

Read more at the HBR Blog.

Why U.S. Women Are Leaving Jobs Behind – New York Times

This article notes that while the United States had one of the top employment rates in the world for women, this has now fallen behind many European countries. The percentage of women in the American work force peaked in 1999, at 74% for those between 25 and 54. It has since fallen, to 69%. The article notes that while the economic downturn of recent years has eliminated many jobs, a lack of family-friendly policies also appears to have contributed to the lower rate.

Survey data shows that 61% of non-working women weren’t in employment due to family responsibilities, compared to 37% of non-working men. Of the women who identify as ‘homemakers’, and who have not looked for a job in the last year, nearly three-quarters would consider going back if a job offered flexible hours or allowed them to work from home.

Furthermore, there are different perceptions of non-working for men and women, and women’s experiences are more likely to reported positively than men. Women are more likely to say that not working has improved their romantic relationships and spend more time exercising than they once did. Men, meanwhile, report negative impacts on their romantic relationships and exercise less.

Yet, many women remain interested in working again, assuming the right prevailing conditions. Particularly important is the flexibility to avoid upending their family life. For many US women with children, the decision about whether to work involves weighing a particularly complex set of benefits and drawbacks. The issues, however, are often insurmountable as the United States has a dearth of programs and policies to support women in work, such as subsidized childcare, parental leaves and taxation of individuals instead of families, which are common in Europe.

The article argues that while the extensive benefits and employment protections granted the European workers has had economic impacts on job markets, the US approach of flexible labour markets with few benefits also has it’s costs, also: ” The free market leaves many families, particularly many women, struggling to find a solution that combines work and home life.”

Read more at the New York Times.

Paternity Leave: The Rewards and the Remaining Stigma – New York Times

This article notes that fathers who opt to take paternity leave can still face workplace stigma, and it can lead to lower pay and fewer promotions. This mirrors long-standing disadvantages experienced by new mothers in the workplace.

While paternity leave can have long-lasting beneficial effects for both parent and child, taking time off work for family reasons has been shown to reduce men’s earnings, just as it reduced women’s earnings. The article further argues that there are “unwritten workplace norms” that can discourage men from taking advantage of it. Moreover, the share of US companies offering paternity leave has dropped by five percent between 2010 and 2014.

The author point out that this also has implications for women’s involvement in the workplace, as increasing men’s involvement at home is one of the best ways to bolster female participation in the workforce.

Read more at The New York Times.

Change.org boosts paid parental leave perks for all new parents – Fortune

In light of recent announcements from prominent technology companies to pay to have female employees eggs frozen, Change.org President Jennifer Dulski announces that the company will offer the same level of parental leave to every employee.

While pointing out that generous benefits like these can be good for business — keeping skilled and experienced staff in the workplace — she also feels it is important that companies don’t “create a set of policies that generate a set of behaviors that perpeturate inequalities among different types of parents.”

Read more at Fortune.