With the hectic schedule of packing lunch boxes, changing diapers, coaching soccer, helping with homework and making sure everyone is safe and healthy, it’s commendable that parents are crushing it in the boardroom. But truly– working parents do it all, and they even make it look easy. With National Working Parents Day right around the corner on September 16, we’re giving much-deserved accolades to the parents across the world who are making an impact both at home and at the office. And as organizations continue to make strides in building workplaces of inclusivity and diversity, it’s important to take a look at the progress made in supporting work-life balance while recognizing that there is more trailblazing to be done.
Working Parents by the Numbers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 32.8 million families in the U.S. with children under the age of 18, and at least one parent is employed in approximately 89% of those households. While this is an increase since 2020, it is a dip from the 91.4% in pre-pandemic months. Additionally, the data shows that employed dads are more likely to work full time than employed moms at 95.5% compared to 79.6%. The age of the children comes into play as well, with mothers with older children being more likely to take on a full-time position than those with younger kids.
Regardless of part-time or full-time status, 2017 studies revealed that over 40% of working moms were the family breadwinners, bringing in at least half of the total household income. It’s hard to believe that just 46 years ago in 1976, only 56% of married mothers worked for pay.
How Workplaces Can Get It Right
With workers of all backgrounds and family scenarios striving to overcome changes spurred by the pandemic, the Great Resignation and current economic conditions, parents are faced with new work-life challenges that employers must take into consideration to retain top talent and cultivate positive cultures. The American Psychological Association (APA) found that 72% of working parents are stressed about childcare schedules. With that, working moms are proven to be much more likely to leave the workforce in response to these challenges, according to PEW Research Center. It’s time for organizations to respond to these startling statistics by implementing changes that suit working parents– both mothers and fathers.
- Offer flexibility: Parents want flexibility at work. In fact, 75% of employees want flexible work to support work-life balance, according to a FlexJobs survey. Additionally, a whopping 94% expressed that workplace flexibility can help them be better parents.
- Include family benefits: Family-focused benefits have gained much-needed popularity in recent years as employers continue to strive to understand their employees. While fertility benefits are gaining momentum, with 42% of large U.S. employers (over 20,000 staff) offering IVF coverage, only 35% of employers report that they offer paid maternity leave beyond what is legally required, according to SHRM.
- Ensure equity: All workers– both parents and non-parents– deserve equality in the workplace. While implementing parental benefits is necessary, organizations should be careful to not provide more benefits to support parents than non-parents. Creating a work environment where all employees are valued and heard regardless of lifestyle or background is crucial.
At Work Shield, we are on a mission to protect workplace cultures and to help organizations efficiently manage reporting, investigation and resolution of harassment, discrimination and workplace misconduct. Supporting working parents is a key element of establishing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and if employers take steps to offer more flexibility, implement family-focused benefits and keep equity above all, parents around the country will have more opportunities for professional success.