, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 191-200

Parental leave: The impact of recent legislation on parents’ leave taking

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Abstract

We use data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation to examine the impact of leave entitlements on unpaid leave usage by men and women after the birth of a child from 1991 to 1999. The results indicate that legislation providing the right to unpaid leave has not affected men’s leave usage. The results for women are mixed: in some specifications, leave entitlements are associated with increased leave taking or longer leaves, but the results depend on how we define leave coverage. Our results point to the limited impact of unpaid leave policies and the potential importance of paid-leave policies.

We are grateful to Katherin Ross Phillips for many useful discussions. We also thank three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and Lawrence Berger and Elizabeth Inez Johnson for their able research assistance. Jane Waldfogel gratefully acknowledges support from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.