It’s that time of year again where we give thanks to our mums for all that they do. Breakfast in bed and even a new pair of PJ’s might warm mum’s heart, but a pay rise would be a welcome Mother’s Day gift too.
As the cost of living rises, new mums are under increasing pressure to return to work sooner, but with the rising cost of childcare, becoming a stay-at-home mum can be a more viable option. But it doesn’t pay the bills.
Remote work is allowing more mums to stay at home and make an income. And they could be earning more money and accessing greater career opportunities than their office dwelling counterparts.
According to the most recent figures available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian mothers take 32 weeks maternity leave for the birth of their child. Those without maternity leave entitlements take an average of 25 weeks of unpaid leave. That’s more than six months without an income.
Most remote employees are also entitled to standard maternity leave entitlements, and the flexibility of working from home means remote working mothers are more likely to return to work sooner. This allows women to have a baby without losing their income, all while staying home to care for their newborn.
The ABS figures also show 37% of new mothers delay maternity leave until one week or less before the birth, in order to have more time off once the child is born. With remote working mums more readily able to return to work sooner, they can enjoy more time off in the later stages of pregnancy for rest and relaxation. Not to mention the all-important nesting and decorating the nursery.
In November 2011, almost half of all Australian mothers with a child under two had not returned to work, with most (88%) choosing to stay home to care for their child.
Of the 53% of mothers who had returned to work, 86% were using flexible work arrangements. This included 65% working part time, a third opting for flexible hours and a quarter working from home. Fifteen per cent of women reported having no access to flexible work arrangements.
Research has proven women in flexible roles are more productive than the rest of the working population. One recent study showed Australian and New Zealand employers could collectively save at least $1.4 billion on wasted wages by employing more productive female employees in flexible roles.
“Organisations that fail to provide flexible arrangements may be missing out on the opportunity to harness the skills, experience, and productivity of women who need to balance work and family responsibilities.” – abs.gov.au
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