Published: 14 November 2019

Mothers return to the labour market from family leaves more quickly than before

In 2018, more mothers with small children were employed compared to 2014. During four years, mothers’ employment rate has increased by three percentage points. The increase has been biggest for mothers with children aged between one and two. These data derive from Statistics Finland’s annual Labour Force Survey review Families and work 2018.

The employment rate of both men and women has improved significantly over the last couple of years. The employment rate of mothers with small children has increased more than that of women without children or fathers. The improved economic cycle is visible in mothers returning to work faster from family leave. At the same time, the proportion of mothers on family leave or taking care of their children at home with no employment contract has decreased.

Mothers of children aged under one are most often at home looking after their children, but mothers go back to work soon when children grow. Five years ago, 53 per cent of mothers with children aged between one and two were employed but in 2018 as many as 58 per cent. When the youngest child is aged between three and six, mothers’ employment rate has risen from 82 to 84 per cent over the same period. The employment rate of mothers with older children also rose by two percentage points.

Employment rate for 20 to 59 year old mothers by age of their youngest child in 2014 and 2018, %

Employment rate for 20 to 59 year old mothers by age of their youngest child in 2014 and 2018, %

Mothers’ education has a connection to employment. Mothers with tertiary level education often have a valid employment contract throughout their family leave and they also return to work faster than other mothers. Among mothers with tertiary level education, 65 per cent had returned to work when the youngest child in the family was aged between one and two in 2018. Among mothers of children in this age group who have not acquired post-basic level education only 21 per cent had returned to work and 53 per cent of mothers with upper secondary level qualifications.

If the mother had a job, 78 per cent of them regardless of the level of education returned to work when the youngest child was aged between one and two and nearly all mothers were working when the child was aged between three and six.

Among mothers without post-basic level education 54 per cent did not have a valid employment contract. Among those with upper secondary level qualifications, 22 per cent and 10 per cent of those with tertiary level education did not have a valid employment contract during their family leave.

Fifteen per cent of employed mothers and just under four per cent of fathers with children under the age of 18 worked part-time in 2018. Among mothers, part-time work was most common when the youngest child was aged between one and two. Approximately one in four mothers worked part-time at that stage. When the children grow, mothers usually start to work more full-time. For example, 11 per cent of mothers of school-age children worked part-time in 2018.

Fifty-six per cent of mothers with children under school-age that worked part time did so because of caring for children or other relatives. On the other hand, one quarter of mothers with children under school-age working part-time would have liked to have a full-time job, but it was not available. Thirty-eight per cent of mothers, whose youngest child was aged between 7 and 17 would have wanted to have a full-time job. The situation was, however, better than in 2014, when 45 per cent of mothers in the corresponding group worked part-time because no full-time job was available.

Links

Labour Force Survey tables in databases: http://tilastokeskus.fi/til/tyti/tau_en.html .

Information about changes in employment and employment relationships in 2018 can be found in earlier annual Labour Force Survey review Labour Force Survey 2018, time series data 2009 to 2018 Labour Force Survey 2016, time series data 2007 to 2016

The change in the definition of employed with an effect on the employment rate of mothers with small children is described in an article of the Tieto&trendit periodical (in Finnish) Määritelmämuutos vuosilta 2008–2009 näkyy pienten lasten äitien työllisyydessä .

The employment of mothers of young children in Finland and Sweden has been compared in an article published in the Tieto&Trendit periodical (in Finnish) Suomi–Ruotsi-vertailu: Pienten lasten äitien työssäolossa ei suuria eroja .


Source: Labour Force Survey 2018. Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Tarja Nieminen 029 551 3561, Olga Kambur 029 551 3565, tyovoimatutkimus@stat.fi

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

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Updated 14.11.2019

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Labour force survey [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-7857. Families and work 2018. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 14.12.2019].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/tyti/2018/14/tyti_2018_14_2019-11-14_tie_001_en.html