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Policy Watch: The Family and Medical Leave Act

Author

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  • Christopher J. Ruhm

Abstract

This article summarizes the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act, its possible effects on labor markets, and the resulting changes in the ability of workers to take leave. The author concludes that the actual provisions of the act are quite modest and have yielded neither large benefits to workers nor imposed significant costs on employers. One reason for this is that few workers gained significant new rights to time off work because the legislation contains many exemptions and employees often had other mechanisms for obtaining leave prior to its enactment.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher J. Ruhm, 1997. "Policy Watch: The Family and Medical Leave Act," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 175-186, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:11:y:1997:i:3:p:175-86
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.11.3.175
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.11.3.175
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Rothschild & Joseph Stiglitz, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(4), pages 629-649.
    2. Klerman, J. & Leibowitz, A., 1995. "Labor Supply Effects of State Maternity Leave Legislation," Papers 95-24, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
    3. Aghion, Philippe & Hermalin, Benjamin, 1990. "Legal Restrictions on Private Contracts Can Enhance Efficiency," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 381-409, Fall.
    4. Eileen Trzcinski & William T. Alpert, 1994. "Pregnancy and Parental Leave Benefits in the United States and Canada: Judicial Decisions and Legislation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 535-554.
    5. Olivia S. Mitchell, 1990. "The Effects of Mandating Benefits Packages," NBER Working Papers 3260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1998. "The Economic Consequences of Parental Leave Mandates: Lessons from Europe," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 285-317.
    7. Summers, Lawrence H, 1989. "Some Simple Economics of Mandated Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 177-183, May.
    8. Christopher J. Ruhm & Jackqueline L. Teague, 1995. "Parental Leave Policies in Europe and North America," NBER Working Papers 5065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Henrekson, Magnus & Dreber, Anna, 2004. "Female Career Success: Institutions, Path Dependence and Psychology," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 574, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 25 Jan 2007.
    2. Dorothea Alewell, Kerstin Pull, 2001. "An Internatioal Comparison and Assessment of Maternity Leave Regulation," Working Paper Series A 2001-02, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    3. Helene Jorgensen & Eileen Appelbaum, 2014. "Expanding Federal Family and Medical Leave Coverage: Who Benefits from Changes in Eligibility Requirements?," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2014-02, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    4. Helen Levy, 2004. "Employer-Sponsored Disability Insurance: Where are the Gaps in Coverage?," NBER Working Papers 10382, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Jane Waldfogel, 1998. "Understanding the "Family Gap" in Pay for Women with Children," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 137-156, Winter.
    6. Jacob Klerman & Arleen Leibowitz, 1999. "Job continuity among new mothers," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 36(2), pages 145-155, May.
    7. Wen-Jui Han & Christopher Ruhm & Jane Waldfogel, 2009. "Parental leave policies and parents' employment and leave-taking," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(1), pages 29-54.
    8. Whitney Schott, 2012. "Going Back Part-time: Family Leave Legislation and Women’s Return to Work," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 31(1), pages 1-30, February.
    9. Maya Rossin-Slater, 2017. "Maternity and Family Leave Policy," NBER Working Papers 23069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Wen-Jui Han & Christopher Ruhm & Jane Waldfogel & Elizabeth Washbrook, 2009. "Public Policies and Women's Employment after Childbearing," NBER Working Papers 14660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2000. "Parental leave and child health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 931-960, November.
    12. Rossin, Maya, 2011. "The effects of maternity leave on children's birth and infant health outcomes in the United States," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 221-239, March.
    13. Henrekson, Magnus & Stenkula, Mikael, 2009. "Why Are There So Few Female Top Executives in Egalitarian Welfare States?," Working Paper Series 786, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    14. Ana Espinola-Arredondo & Sunita Mondal, 2009. "The effect of parental leave on female employment: evidence from state policies," Working Papers 2008-15, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.
    15. Colin Cannonier, 2014. "Does the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Increase Fertility Behavior?," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 105-132, June.
    16. Stearns, Jenna, 2015. "The effects of paid maternity leave: Evidence from Temporary Disability Insurance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 85-102.
    17. Jane Waldfogel, 1999. "The impact of the family and medical leave act," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(2), pages 281-302.
    18. Rossin-Slater, Maya, 2017. "Maternity and Family Leave Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 10500, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. Joyce P. Jacobsen, 2009. "Accommodating Families," Chapters,in: Labor and Employment Law and Economics, chapter 11 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    20. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "How Well Do Parents With Young Children Combine Work and Family Life," NBER Working Papers 10247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Helene Jorgensen & Eileen Appelbaum, 2014. "Expanding Family and Medical Leave to Small Firms," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2014-06, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    22. Amalia Miller, 2011. "The effects of motherhood timing on career path," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(3), pages 1071-1100, July.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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