Document Abstract

Rapid evidence assessment: parents' decisions about returning to work and child caring responsibilities (Department for Education research review DFE-RR749)

Reviews the literature about parents’ decisions to return work in the light of initiatives such as the extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees. Finds that the point in time at which parents return to work, or wish to do so, is influenced by a range of factors including social attitudes, the age of the child/ren, ethnicity, and availability of maternity pay and maternity leave. Reports that, despite a change in social attitudes relating to mothers as primary care-givers, popular belief is that women should be available to their children in the pre-school phase. Notes that low pay, lack of job/work flexibility, and other child-associated factors may negatively affect the decision whether or not to return to work. Suggests reasons for returning to work are predominantly financial in nature alongside deriving a sense of personal fulfilment from work, and finding employment meaningful and providing aspects of personal identity outside parenting. Indicates that career breaks are more detrimental to women than men, and the provision of childcare by a parent is strongly influenced by gendered attitudes favouring women as primary carers.


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Newton, Becci et al
Ref No:
Government Equalities Office

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