Embarking on the journey of parenthood is a life-altering experience, and for many, the professional world becomes a complex maze during this transition. At our law firm, we recently conducted a nationwide maternity leave survey, pulling back the curtain on the experiences of working parents in Canada. The numbers tell a story of resilience, challenges, and the delicate balance between professional and personal life.
Maternity Leave: In Canada, 98.7% of those eligible for maternity leave will take it. In other words, in Canada, almost all women who have a baby, will leave their jobs for a certain length of time to take care of their child.
Awareness: Imagine standing on a two-sided bridge-on one end, 362 respondents (46%) are nodding in affirmation, aware of their maternity leave rights; on the other end, 424 individuals are left in the dark, uninformed by their employers, abandoned to fend for themselves when it comes to understanding their rights. A glaring 54% are traversing this bridge blindfolded, raising questions about the need for improved communication.
The Full Leave Dilemma: 73.4% took the full maternity leave, relishing the precious moments with their newborns. But the remaining 26.6% found themselves at a crossroads. Financial constraints (61.4%) and career aspirations (15.9%) became the compass guiding some back to the professional realm sooner than anticipated.
Flexibility Requests: A substantial number of new parents (41%) requested some type of flexibility to accommodate their new status as parents. This raises questions about the awareness and utilization of available tools that could contribute to a more supportive work environment for parents.
Return Challenges: The return journey from maternity leave isn’t always a smooth ride. For half of the respondents, it’s a rollercoaster, with loops of negative comments, role losses, changed hours, lost promotions, reduced compensation, and even termination. While human rights laws are in place to prohibit this type of behaviour, it obviously does not stop it from occurring.
Legal Support: Unfortunately, only 2% sought the guidance of employment lawyers to navigate and protect their rights during these twists and turns in their career. It’s a reminder that sometimes, legal expertise needs to become the compass guiding individuals through challenging professional landscapes.
Conclusion: The numbers speak volumes, each digit telling a story of resilience, challenges, and the delicate dance between professional aspirations and the realities of parenthood. As the professional landscape continues to evolve, our insights advocate for heightened awareness, improved communication, and the upholding of human rights laws to ensure a seamless integration from maternity leave back into the professional arena.
What should someone experiencing workplace or pregnancy discrimination do?
If you or someone you know feels that they are experiencing pregnancy or parental human rights discrimination, it is important to speak with an experienced employment lawyer to understand your workplace rights. The experienced employment lawyers at Whitten & Lublin are happy to provide insight and advice into your specific circumstances. If you are looking for employment lawyers and would like more information about what Whitten & Lublin can do for you, please contact us online or by phone at (416) 640-2667.