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Transitioning into and out of parental leave: Recommendations for three stages of support

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Hawkins, Jenna
Publication Date: 
1 Jun 2010

Excerpts from the executive summary:

Given the intersection of low fertility rates and an aging workforce at both the provincial and national levels, this report recommends support working mothers in order to address the impending climate of a labour and population shortage. The report will recommend both public policy and workplace initiatives that aim to ease women's undertaking of the roles of mother and worker simultaneously, without having to endure the same work-related risks they have in the past. More specifically, the report will focus on the three stages of transitioning into and out of parental leave: (1) deciding to have a child, (2) u sing parental leave, and (3) returning to work after leave. I recommend public policy and/or workp lace initiatives for each of the three stages. My recommendations are as follows:

1.Eliminate the two-week waiting period for maternity /parental leave benefits.
2. Increase the wage replacement rate on parental leave benefits to 65-70%.
3. Eliminate the cap on the wage replacement benefit.
4. Introduce a two-week non-transferable paid paternity leave benefit for fathers.
5. Promote part-time work and telework as mechanisms for a successful transition back into work after parental leave.
6. Increase funded research on family-friendly policies in Newfoundland andLabrador.
7. Increase funded research into childcare options for Newfoundland and Labrador.

This report covers much ground with limited time a nd resources. It is important that research like this continue to be conducted in Newfoundland and Labrador, and in Canada. It was my goal with this research to get the ball rolling, as it were: to make individuals in our province aware of potential solutions, which are well within our means, to the impending labour and population shortage. This report presents options for government and workplaces to employthat will strengthen the position of women in the paid workforce while addressing the impending demographic imbalance. My hope is that this study will become one of many; its subject is vitally important to the economic and social well-being of our province and its people.