Nearly half of employed Canadian mothers are dissatisfied with maternity leave support: report

A third considered leaving their jobs due to inadequate support, according to a report from Vancouver-based consultant Maturn and Montreal’s The Brand is Female

Taking maternity leave can be a huge source of stress for professional mothers. The motherhood penalty, for example, was based on the premise that women in the workforce encounter disadvantages in pay, perceived competence and benefits relative to childless women.

A new report from Canadian companies Maturn and The Brand is Female shows that, even as politicians like B.C. premier David Eby talk about closing the gender gap and increasing daycare spaces so that more parents can get back to work, there is still a lot of work to do.

Of the over 1,000 Canadian women surveyed, nearly half of employed mothers are dissatisfied with their maternity leave support and a third considered leaving their jobs due to inadequate support, according to the report.

Forty-seven percent of respondents said that an overall transition and communications plan would have made their transition to maternity leave and return to work better, while 49 percent reported that the most challenging part of maternity leave relate to their career was the feeling of having to prove themselves upon their return. Another 35 percent said the most challenging part was the fear of their organization sidelining them.

“Our study exposes a critical gap and missed opportunity in our workplaces,” said Jen Murtagh, co-founder of Maturn, in a release. “The challenges for women during maternity leave go beyond individual experiences; they perpetuate gender disparities, harming employees and employers. We want to galvanize employers to implement strategies that foster a workplace environment where mothers are not only supported but can truly thrive in their professional and personal lives.”

In terms of the childcare issue, just 6.2 percent of respondents said their workplace offered childcare, while 60 percent said that better childcare support would have made their transition back to work easier.

The report also includes recommendations on how businesses can better support their employees. Read the full report, entitled Expecting More: The Motherhood Penalty and its Impact on Canadian Women in the Workplace, here.