80% of women who head a single-parent family have seen their professional and economic situation deteriorate with the pandemic

#EmergenciaPorElEmpleo: 52% of single-parent families stress that the urgency of their income is now “greater than ever”

80% of women who head a single-parent family have seen their professional and economic situation deteriorate with the pandemic

The health emergency has revealed as never before the difficulties encountered by single-parent families, reviving the historic demand for the establishment of a regulatory framework ensuring the protection of single-parent families.

Indeed, if people at the head of a single-parent family already encountered significant obstacles in accessing the labor market and balancing their personal and professional life before the pandemic, today these difficulties are seriously aggravated. On the one hand, the support networks of family and friends have been drastically reduced, further complicating the challenge of reconciliation and preventing single parent households from functioning on an equal footing. On the other hand, an important part of the sectors of activity has been hit by the economic crisis, the increase in unemployment and the uncertainty of employment.

For the ninth consecutive year and framed in the #EmergenciaPorElEmpleo project, whose mission is to help people who have been affected by the economic crisis of COVID-19 – including single-parent families, whose situation is particularly complicated -, the Adecco Foundation, With the collaboration of Endesa, it presents the Monoparentalité et emploi report, with the aim of making visible the situation of these households, giving rise to the development of initiatives aimed at their professional integration. This analysis bases its findings on a survey of 900 single-parent women at risk of exclusion, supplemented by figures from other sources and benchmark reports.

To collect data, the Federation of the Association of Single Mothers (FAMS), the Association of Single Mothers by Choice (MSPE) and the Jos Mara de Llanos Foundation, among others, collaborated.

The most vulnerable to the crisis

According to the continuous household survey (INE), there are today 1,887,500 single-parent households in our country, or 10% of all households in Spain. In contrast, single-parent families mostly have a female face: 83% are headed by a woman. And in light of EAPN’s 8th annual report on the state of poverty and social exclusion in Spain, they are the type of household that sustains a higher rate of poverty. More precisely, 40.6%, which is almost double the general average, 20.6% and 16 percentage points higher than the poverty rate of nuclear families (two adults with one or more dependent children, whose rate is 24, one%).

According to Francisco Mesonero, Director General of the Adecco Foundation: “the sectors of the population which start from a situation of more pronounced poverty are also the most vulnerable to any crisis. This is why we are particularly concerned about the economic effects of COVID-19 on single-parent families, the consequences of which also extend to new generations, exposing their children to situations of inequality that can constitute a stigma on their future. social and labor inclusion ”.

In this sense, he adds that: “at this stage, companies and public administrations must support the implementation of urgent and extraordinary measures, be open-minded and be consistent with the 2030 Agenda, in order to do not leave single-parent families behind and avoid the chronification of their poverty and that of their children ”.

How has the COVID-19 crisis affected the employment of women who run single-parent households?

This survey approximated the effects of the COVID-19 economic crisis on single-parent women. During the state of alert and confinement, many of them were condemned to unemployment or forced to exhaust their permits and vacations, reduce their working hours or request forced leave, with the resulting loss of income and quality of life. Today, seven months after the most difficult part of childbirth and after an atypical summer, most mothers (86%) face the fall with psychological stress, demotivation, sadness and apathy, according to a survey by Malasmadres and DKV . A situation which is worsened in the case of women heads of single-parent families.

In this sense, it is striking to see to what extent 26.1% of the women questioned stress that this year they were not able to go on vacation, due to the economic crisis of COVID-19, or had to moderate their expectations. (15.8%).

With all this, one reality is imperative: the majority of women who lead single-parent families (80%) have seen their professional and economic situation deteriorate with the pandemic. Specifically, 25% worked in the underground economy and lost their job without entitlement to benefits; 14% were affected by an ERTE; 10% had to reduce their working hours, exhaust their vacation or take compulsory leave, resulting in a drop in income; 2% were self-employed and / or were forced to leave their jobs voluntarily, due to the inability to reconcile with custody of their children, and 29% were actively looking for work and saw the cripple selection process in which he participated. Finally, 20% stress that this crisis has not affected them, either because they kept their job in person or online.

This impact on the sphere of work has a direct impact on their quality of life, exposing families to material deprivation, the direct trigger of which is poverty. Thus, 79% of those surveyed show some degree of difficulty in making ends meet. More precisely, 35.3% end the month “with a lot of difficulty”; 26% with difficulty and 11.7% with some difficulty.

In the same vein, 24% say that the economic crisis of COVID-19 has affected the coverage of their basic needs: rent, food or clothing and 52% say that their urgent income is now “more important than ever” .

Reconciliation: from challenge to mission impossible

The reconciliation of work and professional life is the great historical challenge that single-parent families have to face. A challenge which, today, with the pandemic, becomes almost mission impossible.

In light of the recent report “The Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on Single-Parent Families”, by FAMS, 67% of women had networks and support groups to reconcile personal and professional life, but 33% did. was deprived during the state of alert, in large part because of the renunciation of grandparents.

According to Begoa Bravo, responsible for the integration of the Adecco Foundation: “after 6 months without school, with almost no camps and with a resumption of the course in which they send the children home due to quarantine – and without power relying on their grandparents out of fear of the virus – it is really difficult for women who run a single parent family to find a professional opportunity and / or to consolidate themselves in their jobs. Today more than ever, flexibility and reconciliation formulas are necessary, as well as training in digital skills as well as in emerging employment niches ”.

Sectors heavily affected by the crisis

The difficulties in reconciling are compounded by the type of jobs that women usually do, in sectors which have been hit hard by the crisis and which in most cases do not allow the option of teleworking.

And what are these areas of activity? According to the recruitment data of the Adecco Foundation, the service sector stands out, with profiles such as administrative assistant, customer service or taking care of dependent people at home; or the hotelier, with chambermaid or kitchen helper positions.

“These are positions that have been particularly affected by the pandemic and whose future seems uncertain in the medium term. Active employment policies and the definitive impetus for flexibility and reconciliation – consolidation of measures such as the rationalization of entries and exits, recovery of hours in sectors such as services or hotels or the option teleworking for as long as possible – are the only keys so that single-parent families are not left behind and can overcome this crisis ”, emphasizes Francisco Mesonero, Managing Director of the Adecco Foundation.


The Adecco Foundation, with the support of Endesa and 7 other companies, activated the #EmergenciaPorElEmpleo project for the most vulnerable, to impact the most vulnerable families, by calling on the commitment of companies to help 10,000 people including households are at serious risk of exclusion and which have been particularly affected by the economic consequences of COVID-19.

In front of other people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, the beneficiaries of the Adecco Foundation – people with disabilities, people over 45 years of long-term unemployment, women with unrequited family responsibilities and / or victims of gender-based violence and others. People at risk of exclusion – need an average of 12 months to find real employment opportunities, as they are faced with extremely complex situations: very long unemployment, exhaustion of all benefits or very low level of education and socio-economic.

To channel these needs, the #EmergenciaPorElEmpleo project calls on companies to commit to the professional integration of the most vulnerable people, employment being the best social project to develop: “More than ever, the role of companies is essential. that exclusion and poverty do not take root in our country. The demand for employment is increasing exponentially and generating unprecedented competition; a situation that could leave the most vulnerable aside. The only alternative to reduce inequalities and the social divide is to build strategic alliances which respond to the growing number of unemployed people threatened with exclusion ”- underlines Mesonero.

Likewise, the Adecco Foundation recalls the important role of the State in the conduct, promotion and promotion of social and professional integration programs and active employment policies that respond to the growing number of unemployed people threatened with exclusion. expected in the coming months. “Public-private collaboration will be the key to alleviating the pressure on the public employment services and to be able to provide personalized assistance to the unemployed with more difficulties” – concludes Mesonero.

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