Advertisement

Journal of Labor Research

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 105–132 | Cite as

Does the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Increase Fertility Behavior?

  • Colin CannonierEmail author
Article

Abstract

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), implemented in August 1993, grants job-protected leave to any employee satisfying the eligibility criteria. One of the provisions of the FMLA is to allow women to stay at home for a maximum period of 12 weeks to give care to the newborn. The effect of this legislation on the fertility response of eligible women has received little attention by researchers. This study analyzes whether the FMLA has influenced birth outcomes in the U.S. Specifically, I evaluate the effect of the FMLA by comparing the changes in the birth hazard profiles of women who became eligible for FMLA benefits such as maternity leave, to the changes in the control group who were not eligible for such leave. Using a discrete-time hazard model, results from the difference-in-differences estimation indicate that eligible women increase the probability of having a first and second birth by about 1.5 and 0.6 % per annum, respectively. Compared to other women, eligible women are giving birth to the first child a year earlier and about 8.5 months earlier for the second child.

Keywords

Family and medical leave act FMLA Fertility Births Hazard models Maternity leave Difference-in-differences 

JEL classification

I18 J00 J13 J18 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I thank Naci Mocan, Patricia Anderson, Lucie Schmidt and the seminar participants of the 2010 Southern Economic Association Conference and the Louisiana State University Economics Department Brown-bag seminar series for helpful discussions and suggestions. Two anonymous referees provided helpful comments.

References

  1. Allison PD (1984) Event History Analysis. Sage Publications, Beverly HillsGoogle Scholar
  2. Averett SL, Whittington LA (2001) Does maternity leave induce births?”. South Econ J 68(2):403–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baker M, Milligan K (2008a) “How does job-protected maternity leave affect mothers’ employment?”. J Labor Econ 26(4):655–691CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baker M, Milligan K (2008b) “Maternal employment breastfeeding and health: evidence from maternity leave mandates”. J Health Econ 27:871–887CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baum CL (2003) The effect of state maternity leave legislation and the 1993 family and medical leave act on employment and wages. Labour Econ 10(5):573–596CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berger LM, Waldfogel J (2004) Maternity leave and the employment of new mothers in the united states. J Popul Econ 17:331–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berger LM, Hill J, Waldfogel J (2005) “Maternity leave, early maternal employment and child health and development in the US. Econ J 115(501):F29–F47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown, Heidi. 2009, May 04. “U.S. Maternity Leave benefits are still dismal.” Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/2009/05/04/maternity-leave-laws-forbes-woman-wellbeing-pregnancy.html (Accessed July 19, 2011).
  9. Buttner T, Lutz W (1990) Estimating fertility responses to policy measures in the German Democratic Republic. Popul Dev Rev 16(3):539–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Department of Labor. 2007. Family and Medical Leave Act Regulations: A Report on the Department of Labor’s Request for Information. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor. http://www.dol.gov/whd/FMLA2007Report/2007FinalReport.pdf (Accessed March 28, 2010).
  11. Folbre, Nancy. 2010, January 25. “Family Leave: Right or Privilege?” The New York Times. http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/25/family-leaves-right-or-privilege/ (Accessed July 19, 2011).
  12. Gauthier AH (2007) The impact of family policies on fertility in industrialized countries: a review of the literature. Popul Res Policy Rev 26(3):323–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gauthier HA, Hatzius J (1997) Family benefits and fertility: an econometric analysis. Popul Stud 51(3):295–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Han WJ, Waldfogel J (2003) The impact of recent parental leave legislation on parent’s leave-taking. Demography 40(1):191–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Han W, Ruhm C, Waldfogel J (2007) Parental leave policies and parents’ employment and leave-taking”. NBER Work Pap Ser 13697:1–47Google Scholar
  16. Hoem JM (1993) Public policy as the fuel of fertility: effects of a policy reform on the pace of childbearing in sweden in the 1980s. Acta Sociol 36(1):19–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hoem, J.M., A Prskawetz and G. Neyer. 2001. “Autonomy or Conservative Adjustment? The Effect of Public Policies and Educational Attainment on Third Births in Austria.” Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) Working Paper, WP 2001–016.Google Scholar
  18. Hyatt DE, Milne WJ (1991) “Can public policy affect fertility?”. Can Public Policy 17(1):77–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ife, Holly, and Jen Kelly. 2008, May 14. “Call for Universal Maternity Leave.” Herald Sun. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/call-for-universal-maternity-leave/story-e6frf7l6-1111116328669 (Accessed July 19, 2011).
  20. International Labor Organization. 2000. Maternity Protection Convention (Revised) C183. http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/convde.pl?C183 (Accessed October 1, 2010).
  21. Kamerman, Sheila and Shirley Gatenio. 2002. “Mother’s Day: More than Candy and Flowers, Working Parents Need Paid Time Off.” Spring Issue Brief. Columbia, NY: The Clearinghouse on International Developments in Child, Youth and Family Policies. http://www.childpolicyintl.org/issuebrief/issuebrief5.pdf (Accessed May 5, 2010).
  22. Kaplan EL, Meier P (1958) Nonparametric estimation from incomplete observations. J Am Stat Assoc 53:457–481CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Klerman JA, Leibowitz A (1998) “FMLA and the Labor Supply of New Mothers: Evidence from the June CPS”. Unpublished paper prepared for presentation at the Population of America Annual Meetings. IL, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  24. Klerman JA, Leibowitz A (1999) Job continuity among new mothers. Demography 36(2):145–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lalive R, Zweimüller J (2009) How does parental leave affect fertility and return to work? evidence from two natural experiments. Q J Econ 124(3):1363–1402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Milligan, Kevin. 2002. “Quebec’s baby bonus: Can public policy raise fertility?” Backgrounder. C.D. Howe Institute. http://www.cdhowe.org/pdf/Milligan_Backgrounder (accessed May 5, 2010).
  27. Noble, Barbara Presley. 1993, August 1. Saltzman, Jonathan. 2010, August 9. “At Work; Interpreting the Family Leave Act.” The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1993/08/01/business/at-work-interpreting-the-family-leave-act.html?src=pm (Accessed July 19, 2011).
  28. Ross KE (1998) Labor pains: the effect of the family and medical leave act on the return to paid work after childbirth. Focus 20(1):34–36Google Scholar
  29. Rossin M (2011) The effects of maternity leave on children’s birth and infant health outcomes in the United States. J Health Econ 30(2):221–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ruhm CJ (1997) Policy watch: the family and medical leave act. J Econ Perspect 11(3):175–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ruhm CJ (1998) The economic consequences of parental leave mandates: lessons from europe. Q J Econ 113(1):285–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ruhm CJ (2000) Parental leave and child health. J Health Econ 19(6):931–960CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Saltzman, Jonathan. 2010, August 9. “Unpaid Maternity Leave is Capped at Eight Weeks.” The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2010/08/by_jonathan_sal_6.html (Accessed July 19, 2011).
  34. Tanaka S (2005) Parental leave and child health across OECD countries. Econ J 115(502):F7–F28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. U.S. Census Bureau, 2012. Statistical Abstract of the United States 2012, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/ (Accessed 29 Apr 2014).
  36. Waldfogel J (1998) The family gap for young women in the united states and britain: can maternity leave make a difference?”. J Labor Econ 16(3):505–546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Waldfogel J (1999) The impact of the family and medical leave act. J Policy Anal Manag 18(2):281–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Winegarden CR, Bracy PM (1995) Demographic consequences of maternal-leave programs in industrial countries: evidence from fixed-effects models. South Econ J 61(4):1020–1035CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Belmont UniversityNashvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations