Overwhelming majority of women return to jobs after childbirth leave: StatCan – National | Globalnews.ca


An overwhelming majority of mothers who take a leave from work due to childbirth return or plan to return to the same job they held before the absence, according to new data from Statistics Canada.

The agency released two reports Wednesday with new information on the makeup of working parents in the country.

One report found that 91 per cent of mothers sampled returned to the same job or planned to after taking a leave due to childbirth in 2019, while nine per cent planned to go to a different employer — very similar statistics as in 2009, which were 90 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

Meanwhile, a second report found that 68 per cent of all couple families with young children had two-earner couples in 2021, while the employment rate of mothers with young children in one-parent families reached 62 per cent.

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The employment rate of mothers aged 25 to 54 with children younger than six grew from 32 per cent in 1976 to 72 per cent in 2019 and 2021, according to the report.

Between the provinces, in 2021 Quebec had more two-earner couples with young children and more single mothers with young children were employed.

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The report also found that demographics played a role in how many earners there were in a family, with those with Canadian-born mothers more likely to have two earners in the family than those with foreign-born mothers. Couple families with white mothers had a higher share of two earners than those with mothers from other ethnicities, such as Chinese, Black, Latin American, South Asian and Arab groups.

“These differences may be related to differences in average family size, cultural background and economic characteristics in the labour market,” the report said.

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The report also found the COVID-19 pandemic had an effect on employment, with the amount of dual earners in couple families down 12 percentage points from February 2020 to April 2020, when the first wave of the pandemic began. The percentages returned to pre-pandemic levels between May and September 2021.

Similarly, the employment rate of single mothers with children under the age of six went down 16 percentage points from February 2020 to April 2020 from 65 per cent, then rebounded.

The employment rate of mothers in one-parent families with children younger than six decreased from 65 per cent in February 2020 by 16 percentage points until April 2020 then rebounded.

“These findings suggest that there were changes in the employment patterns of families with children younger than 6 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the changes were temporary,” the report said.

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