Working Later Into Pregnancy
GENARO C. ARMAS, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - Women are
working later into pregnancy and returning sooner to the office
after giving birth than they did years ago, a Census Bureau report
However, more new mothers may be taking advantage of flexible
hours and working part-time.
The report being released Wednesday showed the changes over
the last four decades as more women gained college degrees and
professional management positions, analysts said.
It also showed rates of pregnant workers reaching a plateau
in the early 1990s. The biggest increases came in the 1970s and
early 1980s, especially after the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination
Law was passed.
Today, trends suggest that ``a shift to more part-time work
is beginning to occur, both before and after childbirth,'' the
``Perhaps this is an indicator of a growing flexibility in the
work force or represents the desires of families with newborn
children who seek to balance work and family life.''
The survey looked at maternity leave and employment patterns
of women who gave birth to their first child. It compared data
over five-year intervals between 1961 and 1995.
-Between 1991 and 1995, 67 percent of women who gave birth to
their first child worked during their pregnancy. That was unchanged
from the period between 1986 and 1990, but up from 44 percent
between 1961 and 1965.
-The percentage of mothers working full-time rose from 40 percent
in the early 1960s to 54 percent in the early 1990s, while the
percentage of those who worked part-time increased from 5 percent
to 12 percent.
-In the early 1990s, 52 percent of women who gave birth returned
to work after six months, down from 53 percent in the late 1980s
but up from 14 percent in the early 1960s.
More women, especially in white-collar jobs, have gained flexibility
at work and can set their own hours, said Heidi Hartmann, president
of the Institute for Women's Policy Research.
Taking paid leave also became a more popular option. In the
early 1960s, 63 percent of women quit around the time of giving
birth, while 16 percent took paid leave.
By the early 1990s, 27 percent quit while 43 percent took leave.
To lure and retain workers, companies must offer perks like
no mandatory overtime and the ability to set your own schedule,
``How much workplaces have changed to accommodate families is
an ongoing question,'' said University of Maryland sociologist
Suzanne Bianchi. ``More workplaces would not have to be as accommodating''
if the country enters an extended recession.
On the Net:
Census Bureau: https://www.census.gov/
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