Work–Family Balance After Childbirth: The Association Between Employer-Offered Leave Characteristics and Maternity Leave Duration
- 2.7k Downloads
Early return to work after childbirth has been increasing among working mothers in the US. We assessed the relationship between access to employer-offered maternity leave (EOML) (both paid and unpaid) and uptake and duration of maternity leave following childbirth in a socio-economically diverse sample of full-time working women. We focus on California, a state that has long provided more generous maternity leave benefits than those offered by federal maternity leave policies through the State Disability Insurance program. The sample included 691 mothers who gave birth in Southern California in 2002–2003. Using weighted logistic regression, we examined the EOML-maternity leave duration relationship, controlling for whether the leave was paid, as well as other occupational, personality and health-related covariates. Compared with mothers who were offered more than 12 weeks of maternity leave, mothers with <6 weeks of EOML and those offered 6–12 weeks had five times higher odds of returning to work within 12 weeks; those offered no leave had six times higher odds of an early return. These relationships were similar after controlling for whether the leave was paid and after controlling for other occupational and health characteristics. Access to and duration of employer-offered maternity leave significantly determine timing of return to work following childbirth, potentially affecting work–family balance. Policy makers should recognize the pivotal role of employers in offering job security during and after maternity leave and consider widening the eligibility criteria of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
KeywordsMaternity leave Employer offered leave Paid leave Financial strain Work–family policies
Family and Medical Leave Act
California State Disability Insurance
Employer offered maternity leave
Low birth weight
Paid family leave
Grant sponsor: Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Division of Research, Training and Education; Grant Number: R40MV00305-01. Grant sponsor: NIH; Grant Number: R24MH081797, “Socioeconomic and Neuro-Endocrine Determinants of Perinatal Complications.” Grant sponsor: NICHD; Grant Number: HD07275. We wish to thank Shayla Livingston for her help with the literature review.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
- 1.Johnson, T. (2008). Maternity leave and employment patterns of first-time mothers: 1961–2003. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar
- 2.Laughlin, L. (2011). Maternity leave and employment patterns: 2006–2008. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar
- 3.Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. (1993).Google Scholar
- 6.Waldfogel, J. (2001). Family and medical leave: Evidence from the 2000 surveys. Monthly Labor Review, 124(9), 17–24.Google Scholar
- 7.Appelbaum, E., & Milkman, R. (2011). Leave that pay: Employer and worker experiences with paid family leave in California. Center for Economic and Policy Research.Google Scholar
- 8.Phillips, K. (2004). Getting time off: Access to leave among working parents. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.Google Scholar
- 9.Shriver, M. (2009). The Shriver report 2009: A woman’s nation changes everything Center for American Progress.Google Scholar
- 10.Matos, K., & Galinsky, E. (2012). National study of employers.Google Scholar
- 14.Schore, A. N. (2001). Effects of a secure attachment relationship on right brain development, affect regulation, and infant mental health. Infant Mental Health Journal, 22(1–2), 7–66. doi: 10.1002/1097-0355(200101/04)22:1<7:aid-imhj2>3.0.co;2-n.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 23.Schuster, M. A., Chung, P. J., Elliott, M. N., et al. (2009). Perceived effects of leave from work and the role of paid leave among parents of children with special health care needs. American Journal of Public Health, 99(4), 698–705. doi: 10.2105/ajph.2008.138313.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- 24.Cao, D. (2011). Paid maternity leave benefits and postpartum return to work in the. USA: University of California at Berkeley.Google Scholar
- 26.Rossin-Slater, M., Ruhm, C. J., Waldfogel, J. (2011). The effects of California’s Paid Family Leave program on mothers’ leave-taking and subsequent labor market outcomes. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series. 2011; No. 17715.Google Scholar