Mom’s in the Workplace

I love the new show “Up All Night.” It is witty, relate-able, and down-right silly at times. This past week was a humdinger and this is where the term Mom’s (Mothers I’d Like To FIRE) came from. A simple and creative play on words.

The premise of the show where Christina Applegate plays the assistant to a Talk Show host (Oprah wanna-be) and is a new mother herself who has gone back to work after maternity leave. Her attorney husband has taken leave from his job to be a stay-at-home dad.

The whole episode this past week was about a new hire played by Molly Shannon, a single mom who was a walking disaster at everything she tried doing and who couldn’t get anything done at work because of her constant interruptions with her children. Christina Applegate’s character could not seem to find the balls to fire her, according to the talk show hosts’ wishes, because she too, was a mother dealing with these same issues.

We’ve all dealt with these kinds of employees or been in this position ourselves, where we’ve had to take time off for taking care of our children whether they were ill, taking them to Doctor appointments, the babysitter wigged out on us or whatever. It can be very disrupting to the workplace. Sometimes employees just can’t get a handle on these things and make it work. They quickly become Mom’s.

I’ve seen it and I’m sure you’ve seen it. It ultimately ends badly just as I explained in this previous post: Balancing Work and Family: Oh Pshaw! In the post I share how when I went on maternity leave I received a call from my boss on a conference call with all the other managers and even the President of the Company telling me “I could come back to work, but not in my same position.” I was being demoted. I felt penalized for taking time off to have my kid.

A new Census report shows that even in our 21st Century, some women STILL don’t even have access to paid maternity leave.

Some 51% of working women who had their first birth between 2006 and 2008 received paid leave (either maternity leave, sick leave or vacation). That’s up slightly from 49% between 2001 and 2005 and from just 42% between 1996 and 2000, the Census study found.

Okay, so about 42% of women did had access to unpaid maternity leave.

The likelihood that women will be able to take paid time off to have children varies dramatically with age, education and hours worked. Only 24% of women under age 22 took paid leave compared with 61% of women 25 and older. Full-time workers (56%) were more likely to use paid-leave benefits than part-time workers (21%), and college graduates were more likely to take maternity leave than those with less education.

So, what about the recession? Some companies are cutting back on paid family leave and many employees are losing access to paid leave altogether due to layoffs.

The Census report, which can be found here, also found that:

• About 22% of first time mothers quit their jobs – 16% while they were pregnant and another 6% by 12 weeks after their child’s birth.

• Eight out of 10 mothers who worked during their pregnancy returned to work within a year of their child’s birth to the same employer. About seven out of 10 of these women returned to a job at the same pay, skill level and hours worked per week.

• Some 82% of working women worked within a month of their child’s birth, compared to 73% 20 years ago.

OH, and we haven’t even discussed breastfeeding accommodations – ugh!

So how have you handled these kinds of Mom’s in your world? Or how you turned them into Mom’s of another kind (Mothers I’d Like to Mentor). I’d love to hear.

4 Comments Posted in Benefits, Breastfeeding at Work, equal rights, Maternity Leave of Absence, policy, Working Mothers Tagged , Current economic crisis, Employees we'd like to fire, , maternity leave, maternity leave laws, Maternity leave of absence, Mom, Moms and work, Moms at work, Moms in the workplace, Mothers that Work, New Mothers, New working mothers, , susan avello, women in the workplace, Working mothers