4913.0 - Pregnancy and Employment Transitions, Australia, Nov 2017 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/06/2018   
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Findings from the Pregnancy and Employment Transitions survey in 2017 indicate increased retention of women in jobs following the birth of their child, and women returning to the job they held after longer periods spent with the child over the period 2011-2017. These findings are broadly consistent with a PPL evaluation undertaken by academic experts for the Department of Social Services in 2014.

Key findings from the 2017 Pregnancy and Employment Transitions survey include:

Labour force participation of mothers:

    • Less women permanently left the job they were in prior to giving birth (71% stayed in same job in 2011 compared to 77% in 2017);
    • Of the women who had started or returned to work, a higher proportion of women returned to the same job with same roles and responsibilities (59% in 2011 versus 65% in 2017).

Working mothers spending longer at home with their newborn
    • Of the women who had returned to work since giving birth, there was a higher proportion who reported their child was 7 months or older when they returned (35% in 2011 versus 43% in 2017).


In November 2017, there were an estimated 582,300 Australian women aged 15 years and over, who were the birth mother of a child under the age of two years old.
Of these women:
    • 42% had started or returned to work after the birth of the child;
    • 18% were on leave in November 2017 for the birth of their child, which is higher than those on leave in November 2011 (9%);
    • 51% were participating in the labour force, up from 43% in November 2011.


The survey found 73% (427,500) of women with a child under two held a job at some stage during their pregnancy. The proportion of women who permanently left the job they held during their pregnancy was 23%, which decreased from 29% in 2011.

Of the women who had a job while pregnant, 48% worked 35 hours or more in their job prior to the birth of their child and 23% of women were working 40 hours or more a week.


The proportion of women who worked as employees while pregnant and took leave (paid and / or unpaid) was relatively unchanged (93% in 2017 versus 92% in 2011). Of these women, the share who reported taking unpaid leave dropped from 71% in 2011 to 65% in 2017.


An estimated 246,700 (42%) women had started or returned to work since the birth of their youngest child. Of those who had returned:
    • 74% returned after spending at least 4 months at home with their child (up from 65% in 2011);
    • One in four (25%) returned to work after 10 months or longer (up from 21% in 2011).
The majority (82%) of women returned to work with the same employer/business, of those women 79% returned to the same job tasks, roles and responsibilities. The proportion of women returning to work with a different employer/ business decreased from 18% in 2011 to 13% in 2017.

The majority (56%) of women starting or returning to work after the birth of their child relied on informal day care (grandparents, partner, other family members) as their main form of childcare. Grandparent carers were the most popular type of informal childcare, with 26% of women relying on their own parents for the care of their child.

Since 2011 the reliance on formal day care has risen from 33% in 2011 to 44% in 2017. Of those women relying on formal day care facilities, 80% were utilising the services of long day care centres.


Please note, caution should be taken when using the data in this publication. The estimates are derived from a small sample, which means many of the estimates have high Relative Standard Error's.

Please refer to the Relative Standard Error's tab in each Table when using the data.