Women in the Workforce

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Since the proportion of mothers participating in the paid workforce has increased dramatically over recent years, women in the workforce have emphasized that the main problem they find the hardest is finding the balance between work and family life. As a result, a great deal of research attention has been paid to the impact of mother's employment on family life and on the wellbeing of children and parents. Research shows evidence that women continue to bear primary responsibilities for home and child care in spite of their entry in the labor force (Berardo, Shehan, & Leslie, 1987; Pleck, 1985). In today's time, many families must have the earning of two workers in order to survive. Therefore, a large amount of women chose to enter the work force is primarily for economic reasons. On the other hand, there is also evidence that women enjoy paid work and are better off economically and psychologically if they enter the labor force. Several surveys have asked working women whether they would choose to stay home or continue working in the labor market if they were financially secure or could have the same income by remaining at home. Roughly two thirds of employed women said in such circumstances they would choose to continue to work (Bartos, 1982). Taking a look at a case study, in 1986 Mothers in the Workplace (MITW) investigated what employers can do to help employed childbearing women balance the demands of work and family life. They conducted face to face interviews with more than 2600 women in 27 states during the last trimester of pregnancy (68 percent were still working at the time), and face to face or telephone interviews with almost 2000 of these same women approximately four to seven months following childbirth. They also studied on family relevant workplace policies and practices that may influence the labor force participation and workplace experience of childbearing women. Such as: Maternity lave policies, related benefits, flexible time policies and practices, direct child care benefits, and social support at work. This study examined 2 general questions: What are the barriers to women's having access to family-friendly policies during pregnancy? Which family friendly-policies predict women's prenatal and postnatal labor force participation and workplace experience? These outcomes are important for employers and for women and their families. The reason why this study is important is because employers benefit by having pregnant employees who can stay at work longer w/out being sick and they can benefit if they can retain their skilled employees following childbirth. In addition, employers and employees both benefit when valued employees are job-satisfied and when they do not experience child care problems, work-family conflicts, and stress. These types of outcomes are important ones in having a health and productive workforce. The findings of this study indicate that more than 63 percent had less than 12 weeks of maternity leave. Half of the women who had returned to work by the time of the second interview said they did not have enough time with their babies (Piotrkowski, C. S., D. Hugues, J. H. Pleck, S. Kessler-Sklar, and G. L. Staines., 1993). When comparing America's maternal leave policy to other countries, America only gave mothers 12 weeks with 0 percent of wages; while most other countries gave mothers anywhere from 60-100 percent. Chart is shown below: Europe

CountryLength of leave% of Wages
Austria16 weeks100
Belarus126 days100
Belgium15 weeks82 for 30 days, 75%* thereafter
Bulgaria120-180 days100
Cyprus16 weeks75
Denmark18 weeks100 (10 more weeks may be taken by either parent) Finland105 days80
France16-26 weeks100
Germany14 weeks100
Greece16 weeks75
Hungary24 weeks100
Iceland2 monthsFlat rate
Ireland14 weeks70 or fixed rate
Israel12 weeks75
Italy5 months80
Liechtenstein8 weeks80
Luxembourg16 weeks100
Malta13 weeks100
Netherlands16 weeks100...
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