Company. Difficult disconnection, overload on return… maternity leave remains a challenge

Company.  Difficult disconnection, overload on return… maternity leave remains a challenge

The managerial population is becoming more feminized (women now represent 40% of managers), but motherhood remains a difficult stage in the professional career, points out a studyof Apec

published this Thursday.

The difficulties begin from the announcement of the pregnancy, which does not benefit from a defined framework and which represents a source of stress, many women having the feeling of announcing bad news to their employer. “We know that it is never the right time for the company,” testifies for example in the study a 39-year-old mother, financial manager in the banking sector.

Difficult disconnection

During maternity leave itself, disconnecting is also often difficult, notes the study, particularly for female managers. “My replacement called me every day,” recalls a 35-year-old mother, an insurance manager.

In fact, explains Apec, “during their maternity leave, certain female executives continue to be connected with their company to different degrees (following up on emails or clients, attending certain online meetings), unlike the ‘legal obligation “. And regarding the return to work, almost one in two female managers believe that returning to work was difficult (and even “very difficult” for 14% of respondents).

“Overload” or “closeting” upon return

More than seven in ten women returning from maternity leave “talk about the difficulty of coping with their workload despite being tired”. Many were not replaced systematically or often during their absence, with the risk of an “early return or an overload of work upon return with the danger of exhaustion when returning to the post”.

Conversely, “if the replacement took place in good conditions, the risk is rather that of not returning to one’s initial position”. Some women thus undergo “a progressive ‘invisibilization’, a ‘placardisation'”, continues Apec, which notes that “all of these risks are accentuated in the event of long parental leave”.

A career slowed down “for several years”

Ultimately, three-quarters of female executives who have had children consider that maternity leave slows down women’s hierarchical progression “for several years”. In certain companies, maternity leave is “reduced to a penalizing absence, a problem to be resolved, instead of being considered as a logical and predictable step in women’s professional career,” concludes the organization.Finally, while Emmanuel Macron announced in January the creation of birth leave

shorter but better paid than current parental leave, 69% of respondents would prefer “short and well-paid” parental leave to “long but poorly paid” leave.

Survey carried out by the CSA institute among 840 female executives who had at least one child over the last 10 years.

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