During a time of the year when the nation celebrates mothers and fathers, new research from employee benefits leader Unum (NYSE: UNM) spotlights some of the struggles parents can face at work. From navigating benefits to developing a leave plan and returning to work, juggling new parent duties with job responsibilities can be challenging.
In March 2019, Unum conducted research among 500 new mothers and fathers who had or adopted a child in the previous five years. Some of the key findings include:
- 49% of new moms and 36% of new dads did not meet with their manager or HR department to discuss their leave benefits; 40% of those who did spent 30 minutes or less
- Some of the top struggles of new parents included leaving their child (61%), not wanting to return to work but needing the income (52%), logistics of childcare (42%) and a reduced focus or concentration at work (37%)
- Paid leave is the most desired workplace benefit, but only 30% of these new parents’ employers offer it
- 47% of new mothers said breastfeeding at work was one of their biggest challenges and only 17% of parents said their employer offers lactation rooms
- 60% of moms and 40% of dads struggled with depression or anxiety after becoming new parents
“Becoming a new parent is a special time and most employers offer a range of valuable financial protection benefits like short term disability insurance and paid family leave,” said Angel Bennett, Director, Leave Management Center, Unum. “This research highlights the importance of having an open dialogue with HR, developing a leave and return-to-work plan, and discussing all the benefits their company offers.”
To help new parents navigate this often-confusing process, Unum has developed Bringing Up Baby: A Guide to Workplace Parental Leave Resources, which contains basic tips, timing and conversation starters to engage with managers and HR representatives. Additionally, it spotlights key findings from research and contains links to additional resources. This guide, along with other employee and HR resources including Unum’s recent Mental Health Report and Caregiving Report, can be found at unum.com/workwell.