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November 15, 2021

How much time should a woman take off work to raise children?

In Canada, we may pride ourselves on our generous parental benefits, but even the most family-friendly employer will secretly groan when notified about an employee’s pregnancy, warns careers columnist Leah Eichler.

AdWhen you're preparing to add a new member to your family, work is often the last of your worries. But little mistakes and oversights can turn that parental leave into a big mess – which generally lands at the mother’s feet.

Taking a truncated leave can cause more problems than it solves, for instance, including exacerbating health risks for new moms.

But some employers still clearly view mat leaves as being on par with taking a year off to learn skydiving. And then there's the actual cost of repeatedly taking time off to raise kids.

So, how much time should a woman take off work to raise children? And at what point does that time away negatively affect her career aspirations?

*Bing: What are the rules on maternity benefits?

For mothers trying to navigate their back-to-work plan, overcoming perceptions about loyalty and commitment are just some of the obstacles, says Beatrix Dart, executive director of the Rotman Initiative for Women in Business, a back-to-work program designed for those who have been out of the work force for several years and want to rebuild their careers.

Dart reveals that the demand for this sort of counselling is so great that they could have filled the program four times over.

Have you made this transition? Did your employer help or hinder? Would you do it the same way again?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...