Study: significantly more women took leaves of absence during early state pandemic closures

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- According to a survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and the U.S. Census Bureau, moms either took a leave of absence from work to take care of children or increased their working hours to make up for another family member’s loss of wages.

The author, Misty L. Heggeness, says while there was no significant increase in reported leaves of absences for men in states that closed early in the coronavirus pandemic, like New York, there was a 53.2% increase in reported leaves for women. Mother’s also increased their number of work hours 2.4% over men.

“I do not examine the impact of the collapse of the childcare industry on long-run employment and labor market attachment of mothers, but it is clear that if we expect a future where mothers reach full employment, public discussions should include explicit plans for affordable and comprehensive quality childcare and strong school infrastructure,” Heggeness says.

Parents in general, especially mothers, are one of the groups that are most vulnerable to post-pandemic detachment from the labor market, and they put their mental health at risk by trying to juggle all their responsibilities. If we do not include their needs in our policy discussions of post-pandemic full employment, it will be a missed opportunity for the economy and
society at large.

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Using previous gender wage studies, formula’s and historical recession studies, Heggeness, calculated the potential impact these inequalities might have on women and the future of their careers.

Based on a study of men’s careers, when they worked fewer hours during a recession, their future careers had limited outcomes. Heggeness says women who stayed home during the coronavirus pandemic could experience worse. It could also lead to more inequality in the workforce.

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