Sixfold increase in employment with kids under 1
The Sector > Jobs News > Sixfold increase in employment for mums with children under one, new AIFS report finds

Sixfold increase in employment for mums with children under one, new AIFS report finds

by Freya Lucas

May 31, 2023

Many women remain employed while they take some time off to have a baby, a new report from the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) has found, demonstrating the uptake of parental leave in recent years.


32 per cent of mothers with babies aged under one year were employed but away from work in 2021, compared to just five per cent in 1991 – a six-fold increase in 30 years – entirely explaining the increase in employment for new mothers over this period. 


The study also found an increasing trend for both parents of young children to be working; in 2022, both parents were employed in 71 per cent of couple families with children under 15 years. This compares to 56 per cent in 2000, and 40 per cent in 1979.


Commenting on the findings, lead researcher AIFS’ Dr Jennifer Baxter said the employment trends are the result of key societal changes in recent decades impacting young families.


“This trend reflects an increased desire for mothers to stay connected to their work when they have a baby,” she said, something which is supported by the availability of parental leave, with some mothers having access to paid leave through work provisions or through the Australian Government’s Paid Parental Leave.


“We know, too, that families are under increasing financial stress, through larger mortgages, which might also provide impetus for women to remain employed when taking time off to care for a baby,” she added. 


For new mothers, she continued, staying connected to their employer has many benefits for them as individuals as well as for their employers.


“New mothers staying employed enables valuable knowledge and skills to remain within organisations – and provides certainty and security for new mothers when a lot of change is happening in their lives,” Dr Baxter said. 


Data used for the research was sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) including the 2021 Census.


Access the full report, Employment patterns and trends for families with children using the link provided. 

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