In the United States, there are many women who need paid parental leave but this country is the only developed nation that does not provide it. A survey at Indeed.com showed that women spend at least 15 weeks or 105 days, after giving birth, at their jobs before their newborns actually start sleeping during the night.
That means these women spend almost 4 months without any form of proper sleep but are expected to perform at their fullest while at work.
The survey also showed that the lack of sleep is the most trying part of returning to work directly after maternity leave. Approximately 73% of moms have said they are tired while on the job which is a significant challenge for them.
This asks an important question, what do new mothers want? It seems 84% of first-time mothers believe they would benefit from greater flexibility including what time they would like to arrive at work in the morning.
Reports have shown that 74% of women who return to work on a full-time basis said their place of business offered some flexibility during the first year after their baby was born which seems to be the biggest attraction for them returning to work.
Approximately 60% of American women under FMLA are allowed 12 weeks of job-protected leave when giving birth. On average, new moms are taking a mere 10 weeks across the board.
15 Hours of Sleep Short
Considering women are spending an additional 15 weeks waking up at all hours of the night with their babies, they are not able to perform their jobs as well. This seems like another reason why moms need at least 6 months of parental leave.
Among the Working Mother100 Best Companies, only two offer paid leave for at least 24 weeks, American Express (24 weeks) and Adobe Systems offers 26 weeks.
Unfortunately, more maternity leave does not seem to solve the entire problem. Employers need to focus and consider different ways to continue supporting moms once they return to the workplace.
Carmen Bryant, Direct of US Marketing at Indeed.com, believes that asking mothers what employers can do to help out during this challenging period of time when returning to work is an important step in the right direction.
Almost one-third of women returning to the workforce have said they are supported by their bosses which have been the motivating factor for them returning to work.
As employment is at an all-time low in the US, it’s really important to work harder to keep their talented workforce. They really need to address mom’s needs, as well as father’s who are also up all night providing regular feeding times.
Parents should be given 6 months of paid time off, after their child is born, then gradually phase back into working full-time. Due to the lack of sleep, an extra hour can make all the difference in the world, employers should have a flexible start time in the morning to help them out.
By not addressing this issue, employers could lose talented people from their workforce due to exhaustion because they cannot give it they’re all.