Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 331–349 | Cite as

Maternity leave and the employment of new mothers in the United States

  • Lawrence M. Berger
  • Jane WaldfogelEmail author


We use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to examine the relationships between maternity leave coverage and U.S. women’s post-birth leave taking and employment decisions from 1988 to 1996. We find that women who were employed before birth are working much more quickly post-birth than women who were not. We also find that, among mothers who were employed pre-birth, those in jobs that provided leave coverage are more likely to take a leave of up to 12 weeks, but return more quickly after 12 weeks. Our results suggest that maternity leave coverage is related to leave taking, as well as the length of time that a new mother stays home after a birth.


Maternity leave women’s employment 

JEL classification

I3 J00 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Health and WellbeingWoodrow Wilson SchoolUSA
  2. 2.Columbia University School of Social WorkNew YorkUSA

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