Some Moms Would Take Pay Cut for Time with Kids

By Kathy Gurchiek May 8, 2008

Moms working outside the home may bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan, but that doesn’t mean they want a skillet for Mother’s Day on May 11, 2008. What they’d like is more of a work/life balance, and some would be willing to take a cut in pay for that extra time.

Almost one-fourth of 880 U.S. working mothers surveyed said work has had a negative impact on their relationships with their children. A lack of time with their kids still seems to be an issue—16 percent bring work home at least three days a week and one in five do so every work day.

The findings are from a survey for conducted in February and March 2008. Respondents had at least one child under the age of 18 at home, worked full-time and were not self-employed.

Among the findings:

    • 43 percent of working mothers would be willing to take a pay cut if it meant they could spend more time with their children.

    • 34 percent of those who would take a pay cut would be willing to give up 10 percent or more of their salaries.

    • 51 percent of working mothers with more than one source of income would leave their job if their spouse or significant other made enough money to support the entire family.

“More than 25 percent of working moms are dissatisfied with their work/life balance,” chief sales officer Mary Delaney said in a press release.

“As companies continue to experience a tighter labor market, the importance of retaining star employees is requiring them to implement benefits,” such as flex schedules, telecommuting and other company-wide work/life initiatives, “that actually encourage workers to improve the balance between their professional and family lives,” said the mother of three.

A separate Mothers Day-related survey by Adecco of 2,138 U.S. workers found that working mothers are as likely as nonparents to work late and respond to work-related e-mails after hours.

Among respondents in Adecco’s survey, conducted in April 2008, 1,262 were employed full- or part-time, 645 were not parents or legal guardians, and 352 were female workers who are parents or legal guardians.

It found:

    • 71 percent of the working mothers say it’s more difficult to manage their family than their career.

    • Working mothers are almost as likely as nonparents (71 percent vs. 73 percent) to work late and respond to after-hours e-mails.

    • 60 percent of working mothers think they have the same level of access to work/life benefits as nonparents.

    • 44 percent of nonparents think nonparents have the same level of access to work/life benefits, and 25 percent of nonparents think nonparents have less access.

    • 59 percent of working mothers say motherhood has not affected their career path; 15 percent said it has hurt their career.

    • 32 percent of all workers surveyed would be less inclined to ask a working parent, male or female, to work late.

Adecco suggests that managers and business leaders reward productivity, not face time; build an inclusive culture to avoid treating parents and nonparents differently when it comes to work/life benefits; encourage participation in ‘take your child to work day;’ and lead by example, such as not initiating non-essential e-mails or calls to staff after hours.

Nearly half (49 percent) of mothers Adecco surveyed said their organizations should do more to help them achieve better work/life balance.

“Mother’s Day is the perfect time to celebrate all moms and particularly working moms, given the challenges around juggling home life and career priorities,” Adecco chief career officer Bernadette Kenny said in a press release.

“As the workplace evolves and becomes more flexible, we are witnessing that moms are becoming more confident with maintaining both their careers and family lives,” she said, but she noted that in an increasingly 24/7 world “challenges still remain.”

“Employers should pay attention to this trend and ensure that all employees, not just parents, are able to better balance work and life.”

Kathy Gurchiek is associate editor for HR News. She can be reached at


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