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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Hemm

The Cost of Unsupported Working Parents



Across the US, new parents are struggling.


The statistics are clear: 50% of new mothers don’t return to work within three months after giving birth. Nearly a third don’t return within the first year, and roughly 20% of new mothers quit the workforce entirely.


These numbers are higher in traditionally male-dominated industries like finance, manufacturing, and law. Companies are at risk of losing highly trained, experienced employees if they do not take measures to better care for expectant and new parents, especially mothers.


The cost of losing employees is more than dollars. It is hard to put a price on the institutional knowledge, culture, and community contributions an individual makes. It's even harder to pin down how much reputation can impact the bottom line (although, we all know that being seen as a employee-friendly workplace is better than the alternative). What we do know is that the average cost of replacing an employee is 150% of their annual salary - with this number increasing for specialized and highly trained positions.


For parents that do return to work, many new parents are experiencing mental health struggles. Data from before 2020 show 1 in 5 mothers and 1 in 10 partners suffer from postpartum mood disorders (PMADs). The pandemic has increased the prevalence of parental mental health issues. Parents struggling with PMADs are at a higher risk of increased work absenteeism, increased medical care costs, decreased productivity, and decreased job satisfaction.


The challenges working parents face do not just impair the individual - there is a significant cost to their employers. From absenteeism to attrition to toxic environments, companies are feeling it in their bottom line.


There is positive news. By investing in parent-friendly practices, companies will notice an immediate impact. Moms and dads who receive education, support, and community within in the workplace are more resilient, engaged, and confident at home and work. With intention and mindfulness, employers will see new parents become more tuned in, connected, and better equipped to be successful, productive team members in the workplace.


When thinking about investing in programming specifically for expectant, new, and working parents, consider the following: What is the attrition rate of working parents, especially mothers? What is the cost of mental health, sick days, and absences due to parenthood? Have there been listening sessions to identify needs and gaps in support? If so, what practices are changing in response to the newly identified needs?


Next Steps


Creating a more supportive environment for working parents, especially new parents, is a collaborative effort and not a “one and done” activity. Learn more about what options are available to your organization based on the specific needs, desire to drive change, and current infrastructure.


To discuss how to get started at your organiztion, set up an initial consultation with Amanda today.


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