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How Does Job-Protected Maternity Leave Affect Mothers' Employment?

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  • Michael Baker
  • Kevin Milligan

Abstract

We examine the impact of maternity leaves on the period mothers are away from work postbirth and the likelihood they return to their prebirth employer. We use the introduction and expansion of statutory job-protected maternity leave entitlements in Canada to identify these effects. We find that modest leave entitlements of 17-18 weeks do not change the amount of time mothers spend away from work. In contrast, longer leaves do have a substantive impact on behavior, leading to more time spent at home. We also find that all entitlements we examined increase job continuity with the prebirth employer. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2008. "How Does Job-Protected Maternity Leave Affect Mothers' Employment?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(4), pages 655-691, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:26:y:2008:i:4:p:655-691
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Shelley Phipps & Peter Burton & Lynn Lethbridge, 2001. "In and out of the labour market: long-term income consequences of child-related interruptions to women's paid work," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(2), pages 411-429, May.
    2. Charles L. Baum II, 2003. "The Effects of Maternity Leave Legislation on Mothers' Labor Supply after Childbirth," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 69(4), pages 772-799, April.
    3. Yoshio Higuchi & Jane Waldfogel & Masahiro Abe, 1999. "Family leave policies and women's retention after childbirth: Evidence from the United States, Britain, and Japan," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 12(4), pages 523-545.
    4. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    5. Shelley A. Phipps, 2000. "Maternity and Parental Benefits in Canada: Are there Behavioural Implications?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 26(4), pages 415-436, December.
    6. Gary Solon, 1984. "Estimating Autocorrelations in Fixed-Effects Models," NBER Technical Working Papers 0032, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Dustmann, Christian & Schönberg, Uta, 2008. "The Effect of Expansions in Maternity Leave Coverage on Children's Long-Term Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 3605, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. 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.
    9. Jacob Alex Klerman & Arleen Leibowitz, 1994. "The Work-Employment Distinction among New Mothers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 277-303.
    10. Waldfogel, Jane, 1998. "The Family Gap for Young Women in the United States and Britain: Can Maternity Leave Make a Difference?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(3), pages 505-545, July.
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