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Eligibility for materniy leave and first birth timing in Great Britain


  • Cordula Zabel

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)


This paper examines the impact of maternity leave legislation on first birth timing in Great Britain. When maternity leave was introduced in Great Britain in 1976, the eligibility requirement for full-time employees was to have been working for the same employer for at least 2 years. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), this paper examines whether women postponed first birth in accordance with tenure requirements for maternity leave. Higher transition rates to first birth are found for those who had acquired enough employer tenure to qualify for maternity leave than for those who did not yet qualify. However, the causal role of maternity leave legislation for first birth timing is uncertain, since transition rates to first birth began to diverge by employer tenure even before 1976.

Suggested Citation

  • Cordula Zabel, 2007. "Eligibility for materniy leave and first birth timing in Great Britain," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2007-009, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2007-009

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gunnar Andersson & Jan M. Hoem & Ann Zofie Duvander, 2006. "Social differentials in speed-premium effects in childbearing in Sweden," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 14(4), pages 51-70, January.
    2. Dex, Shirley, et al, 1998. "Women's Employment Transitions around Child Bearing," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 60(1), pages 79-98, February.
    3. Dex, Shirley & Joshi, Heather & Macran, Susan, 1996. "A Widening Gulf among Britain's Mothers," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 65-75, Spring.
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    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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