April Member Study: 20% of Parents Consider Leaving the Workforce

Cleo April Member Study: 1 in 5 of Parents Consider Leaving the Workforce due to impact of COVID-19

Cleo has always focused on supporting working parents, including helping parents navigate return to work after parental leave. As COVID-19 began to impact the U.S. and upend our lives, we wanted to establish a baseline understanding of Cleo members to evaluate how parents are doing. In April 2020 Cleo conducted a survey to understand trends among Cleo members and return to work, and determine the impact of COVID-19 on members’ lives.

Cleo members shared that COVID-19 was having a major impact on their lives and plans related to balancing family and career. Our survey reports how Cleo members have or plan to return to work post parental leave, how working parents are managing with work and family commitments, and how COVID-19 is impacting plans, productivity, mental health, and more.

Read on to see a summary of the key findings of the survey

Return to Work after Parental Leave:

Cleo supports new parents with the transition back to work after parental leave. The April study revealed that an impressive 95% of respondents returned to work after parental leave. Nearly all of those that returned to work post leave were retained with their original employer. 91% of respondents noted that they returned to work with the same hours as before having a child.

Return to Work post parental leave in April 2020:

  • 95% returned to work after parental leave
  • 89% returned to work to original employer
  • 83% returned to work on time
  • 74% of respondents who had returned to work were at 1 year or more post-baby
  • 91% are working the same number of hours or more since having a child

What are the biggest challenges for families after returning to work?

  • 60% reported wanting more time for their child(ren)
  • 54% reported coordinating responsibilities with partner
  • 48% said the logistics of childcare
  • 31% said emotional/mental wellness

What are the impacts of COVID-19?

While the respondents reported high rates of returning to jobs, they did share that there are other substantial challenges occurring now due to the impact of COVID-19. Headline after headline in the past two weeks has highlighted a secondary effect of the COVID-19 crisis: working parents and their children are not alright.

One of the major impacts of COVID-19 has been a shift to remote work coupled with a sudden loss of child care for many Cleo members. The survey found that more than 50% of respondents currently have no childcare support. This data is startling and has impacts for retention of employees. In fact, our survey results indicated that 1 in 5 of our members (all of whom have children from 1 day old to 5 years old) told us that childcare challenges are forcing them to consider the unthinkable: dropping out of the workforce. This consideration was especially prevalent among female respondents. Many Cleo members also reported that they feel less productive at work compared to before COVID-19.

  • >50% of families are without childcare. Either one parent or both parents are sharing childcare responsibilities
  • 52% feel that their productivity is 75% or less than their productivity prior to COVID-19
  • 1 in 4 feel their productivity is at less than 50% of baseline

What childcare solutions are families considering?

As shelter in place order and other concerns related to COVID-19 have left many families without childcare, families are taking varied approaches to addressing this challenge, either by taking on the responsibility themselves, getting support from family, organizing new care arrangements, and even making major life changes like moving or leaving the workforce.

  • 56% said they will continue to share responsibilities with their working partner
  • 37% said they will have family come and stay with them
  • 20% said either they or their partner are considering leaving the workforce to care for their children
  • 16% are willing to consider forming a sharecare
  • 16% said they would move to be closer to family

Survey Methodology

In April of 2020, we surveyed 246 respondents who are employees of large enterprise companies that provide Cleo to their employees. At the time the survey was conducted, respondents were all parents of children at greater than four weeks post-birth. At the time the survey was conducted, respondents had been enrolled in Cleo for at least two months. The parents included:

  • 78% Birth Parents
  • 21% Non-Birth Parents
  • 1% Adoptive Parents

Overall, while respondents indicate a strong commitment to return to work, COVID-19 has been an unexpected challenge that is impacting plans and leading to open questions. The Cleo team will be continuing to check in on members to understand how they are faring and provide resources and support for working parents.

This blog was initially published April 21, 2020 and re-published July 13, 2020 with some additional data.