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4913.0 - Pregnancy and Employment Transitions, Australia, Nov 2011 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/11/2012   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


OVERVIEW

In November 2011, there were an estimated 523,300 women in Australia aged 15 years and over, who were birth mothers of at least one child under two years of age living with them in a private dwelling at the time of interview.

Of these women:

  • almost two-thirds (64%) were aged 30 years and over;
  • 88% were married;
  • just over one-quarter (26%) were born overseas;
  • 39% had started or returned to work since the birth of the child;
  • 9% were currently on leave for the birth of the child; and
  • over half (54%) were not in the labour force.


JOB HELD DURING PREGNANCY

There were 357,500 women who had a job while pregnant. The majority (98%) of these women worked in a job at some stage while pregnant, while the remaining 6,200 women who had a job while pregnant did not work in that job during their pregnancy. Of the women who had a job while they were pregnant:
  • 88% were employees (excluding owner managers of incorporated enterprises (OMIEs)), of whom 253,900 (71%) had paid leave entitlements;
  • 130,200 (36%) worked less than 35 hours per week immediately before stopping for the birth of the child;
  • 61,100 (17%) perceived experiencing some level of discrimination associated with pregnancy; and
  • 78,600 (22%) received the Government Paid Parental Leave1 benefit.

Almost 91,000 (25%) of women who had a job while pregnant worked in that job/business for between 2-3 years.

Nearly 30% or 105,400 women stopped work 5 weeks or more before the birth. In contrast, 83,600 or 23% stopped work less than 1 week before the birth.

Of the women who had a job while pregnant, the Health care and social assistance industry had the highest proportion (19%), followed by Retail trade (12%) and Education and training (10%).

The occupation with the highest proportion of women who had a job while pregnant, was Professionals (33%), followed by Clerical and administrative workers (23%) and Managers (12%).


Paid leave

Information was collected on the paid leave arrangements of women who had a job while pregnant. The types of paid leave included paid maternity, paid holiday, long service leave and other paid leave taken. Details about whether paid leave was taken at full or half-pay was also collected.

There were 151,200 female employees (excluding OMIEs) who had a job while pregnant and were entitled to paid maternity leave. Of these, 131,900 (87%) took paid maternity leave either on full pay, half pay or a combination of both full pay and half pay for the birth of their child.

The mean number of weeks of paid maternity leave taken by women entitled to paid maternity leave was 16.7 weeks.

Of the 185,500 women who had a full-time job while pregnant:
  • 126,800 (68%) were entitled to paid holiday leave, of whom 50% took holiday leave at full-pay following the birth of their child; and
  • 19% permanently left their job before the birth of their child.

There were 210,000 women who had a job during pregnancy and were entitled to paid leave2. Of these women, 83% took paid leave following the birth of their child:
  • 30% took 14-26 weeks of paid leave; and
  • 16% took 1-4 weeks of paid leave.


Unpaid leave

Information was collected on the unpaid leave arrangements of women who had a job while pregnant. The types of unpaid leave included unpaid maternity leave and other unpaid leave taken.

Around 159,800 women took unpaid maternity leave following the birth of their child. Of these women:
  • 29% took 14-26 weeks of unpaid maternity leave; and
  • 17% took 27-39 weeks of unpaid maternity leave.

Almost one-quarter (23%) of women who had a job while pregnant, did not take any unpaid maternity leave.

There were 171,000 women who took some unpaid leave for the birth of their child and of these, 30% took between 14-26 weeks.

The mean number of weeks of unpaid leave taken by women for the birth of the child was 25.3 weeks.


Paid and Unpaid leave

For those women who had a job during pregnancy, the mean number of weeks taken for both paid and unpaid leave for the birth of the child was 32.4 weeks.

For women aged 35 years and over the mean number of weeks of paid and unpaid leave taken for the birth of their child was 35 weeks; 33.8 weeks for those aged 30-34 years and 27.2 weeks for those aged 15-29 years.

There were 22,200 women who had a job while pregnant who reported that they did not take any leave for the birth of their child.


Perceived discrimination in the workplace while pregnant

Approximately 67,300 women (19%) employees (excluding OMIEs) perceived experiencing some level of discrimination in the workplace while pregnant. Of these women, 91% perceived experiencing discrimination directly associated with their pregnancy. The types of discrimination that were most commonly reported3 in the survey were 'Missed out on opportunity for promotion' (34%), 'Missed out on training or development opportunities' (32%) and 'Received inappropriate or negative comments from their manager/supervisor' (28%).


Permanently left job held during pregnancy

Of the 104,500 women who permanently left the job they had during pregnancy, almost half (49%) left 'To care for the child'. Nearly three-quarters (71%) of women did not leave the job they had during pregnancy.


WOMEN WITH CHILD UNDER 2 YEARS WHO STARTED OR RETURNED TO WORK AFTER THE BIRTH OF CHILD

In November 2011, there were 205,500 women with a child under 2 years who had started or returned to work after the birth of their child. The most common reasons given for starting or returning to work was 'To keep job/Employer requested return' (26%), 'Financial' and 'Maintain self-esteem' (both 15%).

Nearly 8 in 10 women (79%) who started or returned to work used at least one type of informal child care and 4 in 10 (40%) used at least one type of formal care3.

Women who started or returned to work, Main type of child care used
Graph: Women who started or returned to work, Main type of child care used


The main types of child care used when women started or returned to work were 'Grandparent' (27%), 'Father/partner' (26%) and 'Long day care centre' (23%).

Of the 205,500 women who started or returned to work after the birth of their child, 84% usually worked part-time, with the majority (54%) working between 15-34 hours per week. Of the 33,200 women who usually worked full-time in their first main job since the birth of their child, 6 in 10 preferred to work part-time.

Approximately 176,500 women used at least one type of flexible work arrangements to assist with the care of their child3. The most common flexible work arrangements reported by women to assist with the care of the child were:
  • working part-time (76%);
  • using flexible working hours (40%); and
  • working from home (30%).

There were 185,800 women who had a job during pregnancy and had started or returned to work. Of these women:
  • 80% returned to the same employer and about 1 in 5 (19%) of these women reported returning to a role where their job tasks and/or responsibilities changed; and
  • 20% started with a different employer/business.


WOMEN WITH CHILD UNDER 2 YEARS WHO HAD A JOB AT NOVEMBER 2011

In November 2011, 231,300 women with a child under two years had a job and 18% were currently on leave for birth of their child.

Of all of the types of flexible work arrangements that the 165,400 women used, in their job at November 2011, to assist with the care of their child3:
  • 74% of women worked part-time;
  • 48% used flexible working hours; and
  • 33% worked from home.

There were 67,400 women who in their job at November 2011 did not use flexible work arrangements to assist with the care of their child.


PARTNERS4

Women with child under 2 years whose partner at November 2011 was partner during pregnancy

In November 2011, there were 451,800 women whose partner at November 2011 was their partner during pregnancy. Approximately 86% of women's partners usually worked 35 or more hours per week in all jobs.


Women with child under 2 years whose partner worked in a job during women's pregnancy

There were 428,000 women whose partners worked in a job while the woman was pregnant. The most common industry of employment of partners were the Construction (17%) and Manufacturing (11%) industries.

The most common occupations of partners were Technicians and trade workers (25%), Professionals (22%) and Managers (17%).

Other characteristics of partners in their job while the woman was pregnant include:
  • 64% of Professionals took paid leave for the birth of the child;
  • partners who were Labourers were least likely to take leave for the birth of the child (36%); and
  • 42% of Community and personal service workers took 4 weeks or more leave for the birth of the child.


Women with child under 2 years whose partner started or returned to work after birth of selected child

In November 2011 there were 433,900 partners who started or returned to work after the birth of the child. One in four used some type of flexible work arrangements to assist with the care of the child on their return to work3. Of these partners:
  • 61% used flexible working hours;
  • 32% worked from home; and
  • 12% used part-time work arrangements.

There were 322,400 partners who did not use flexible working arrangements to assist with the care of the child. Of these partners:
  • 30% had flexible work arrangements available to use;
  • 50% did not have flexible work arrangements available to use; and
  • 20% did not know if there were flexible work arrangements available to use to assist with the care of the child.


END NOTE

1. See paragraphs 22-23 of the Explanatory Notes for more information.

2. See the Glossary for more information.

3. Multiple responses may be reported in respect of the same woman.

4. Information on partners refers to partners at November 2011 who were also the partner during the woman's pregnancy.


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