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Look at a few ways to overcome the motherhood penalty by managing work-life balance and updating policies. 

The motherhood penalty is based on the traditional idea that mothers should stay home and raise their children. It is considered a disadvantage and discrimination; on the other hand, many females suffer from terrible health conditions after giving birth to a child. This includes many diseases such as managing PCOS post-delivery, chlamydia, etc. Having a child and returning to the workplace is challenging for mothers. Because not only do they have to manage careers but also their family as well. Several other challenges also came to their mind. These all are known as the motherhood penalty. 

Due to this, half of the mothers decide to reduce their working hours. And one in fourth decides to quit their job to take care of their families. How to overcome the motherhood penalty has been a popular and broad topic among sociologists and economists since early 2000. Due to the motherhood penalty, women make less money and struggle for promotions. 

However, there are following certain things that employers and fellow employees do. To create an environment where mothers want to stay:

Returnships Programme

Through “returnship” programs, a high-level internship is created especially for mothers. Who has been out of professional work for a long time? Mothers can be eased into the workforce while ensuring they can build on prior progress. According to research in the workplace report, returnships positively impact women. Returnships can hold and further develop talented women. 

Let us take the example of the PayPal company. Companies welcome women into their workplace after maternity leave via the Recharge program. A 16-week paid returnship program called PayPal Recharge mothers to improve networking and skills. Returnships have been established by several other businesses, including JPMorgan, Amazon, and Pepsi.

Work-Life Flexibility

Over the past few years, flexibility has been redefined. Now more companies offer hybrid and remote working. However, work-life flexibility is the main issue for both men and women at work. At the same time, many workers are taking advantage of flexible scheduling. 

Working mothers can benefit significantly from it during their whole pregnancy and even after giving birth. This flexibility frees moms to pay more attention to their mental and physical health. It reduces the stress of balancing meetings, appointments, and deadlines with family life.

According to a second McKinsey survey, only 8% of moms said they would prefer to work entirely in an office. It indicates that employees are likelier to have flexible work schedules and remote working arrangements.

Don’t Feel Guilty

Mothers feel guilty about snide comments and demanding self-created expectations. But whatever the sources make the mother feel that working priorities are wrong. However, according to the Office for National Statistics, guilt over balancing a profession and motherhood affects 70% of women with dependent children at work.

Also, a study of 2,000 women was conducted by the baby care business. It revealed that 60% of women felt wrong about their parenting styles due to remarks made by others. Considering feeling bad about returning to work after maternity leave or working late into the night. Many factors contribute to mom guilting. But remove or eliminate all bad behaviors when they occur to support mothers. 

Affordable Childcare

Another impact women face in the workplace is the cost of living. The Pew Research Center, 2020 investigated that mothers have 36% of their home childcare responsibilities, and fathers have 16%. The cost of child care in the USA is higher. 

So, employers or companies should have affordable childcare reimbursement. Another way is that employers can collaborate with childcare offices to provide discounts. It should also provide a time preference to book childcare during office hours. 

Adjust Programs 

Overcome the motherhood penalty in firms or organizations by reducing or eliminating:

  • Arranging team meetings for working mothers at convenient times.
  • Avoid arranging meetings in the early mornings, late, or evening. Because at that time, parents are busy picking up their children from daycare centers or schools.  
  • Many organizations are working remotely or hybrid. So, employers should think that when in person meeting is important. Companies should give enough time to mothers to take care of their children. And also to make a plan to join in a personal meeting.
  • When mothers come back from parental leave, assist them with consistent practices. Instead of assuming that parents’ workloads, travel circumstances, or plans would be the same daily. Ask parents about their current schedules and flexibility needs.
  • During business hours, use electronic functions to assign important work projects. When mothers cannot monitor email or other electronic communication at night. Mothers frequently miss out on desirable tasks and opportunities.

Keep Updated

It becomes tough to get back to the workplace, especially in the job market, which is competitive. But it would help if you were up to date on your industry. But one important thing you are bringing something new, maybe the other youngsters might not, is maturity. Employers are looking for this in job candidates, which will help you find your work. 

Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978

According to the pregnancy discrimination act 1978, workplace discrimination is illegal. It is unlawful to deny pregnant women employment, promotions, assignments, benefits, training, and other options related to jobs.  

The U.S. House of Representatives enacted the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act on May 14, 2021. It outlaws practices that refuse reasonable accommodations to people affected by a pregnancy, childbirth, or other medical problems. To become law, the measure needs a majority in the U.S. Senate. To mitigate the uneven burden on mothers, policies should be designed in the form of enhanced childcare support and childcare resources. These policies should be implemented for a long period of time rather than a short period of time. 


Overcome the motherhood penalty by updating procedures and policies, job support, and financial equity. However, above mentioned suggestions can help to overcome the motherhood penalty.