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Return to work after childbirth: does parental leave matter in Europe?

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  • Pronzato, Chiara

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to investigate the role of the extended parental leave in the return to work for mothers of newborn children. Parental leaves have been introduced in the last 30 years in all European countries in order to extend the period of job-protection, allowing both parents to care for the child after the maternity leave period has expired. In this paper, I exploit the variability in policies offered by the EU countries, in terms of length of the leave and payments, and I study the influence of statutory leaves on the probability of staying at home with the child during the leave, and on the probability of working in the period of time following the leave. Using data from ECHP, I select women who have a child in the years of the survey, who have worked before, and I follow them over time. After studying the determinants of the return to work in each country separately, I generalize the results, matching women with similar human capital characteristics and fertility history from different countries and, consequently, under different parental leave regulations. Results suggest that the right to long and paid leaves gives mothers the opportunity to remain at home with the child at a lower cost, and that lengthy statutory leaves are associated with being more likely to be at work in the period following the leave.

Suggested Citation

  • Pronzato, Chiara, 2007. "Return to work after childbirth: does parental leave matter in Europe?," ISER Working Paper Series 2007-30, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2007-30
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    Cited by:

    1. Lia Pacelli & Silvia Pasqua & Claudia Villosio, 2007. "What Does the Stork Bring to Women’s Working Career?," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 58, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
    2. Natálie Švarcová & Petr Švarc, 2009. "The Financial Impact of Government Policies on Families with Children in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 3(1), pages 048-068, March.
    3. Julia Bredtmann & Jochen Kluve & Sandra Schaffner, 2013. "Mothers' Transitions into the Labor Market under Two Political Systems: Comparing East and West Germany before Reunification," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 133(3), pages 375-408.
    4. Julie L. Hotchkiss & M. Melinda Pitts & Mary Beth Walker, 2010. "Assessing the impact of education and marriage on labor market exit decisions of women," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2010-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    5. Solera, Cristina, 2008. "Combining marriage and children with paid work: changes across cohorts in Italy and Great Britain," ISER Working Paper Series 2008-22, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    6. Julie L. Hotchkiss & M. Melinda Pitts & Mary Beth Walker, 2011. "To work or not to work: the economics of a mother's dilemma," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2011-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    7. repec:zbw:rwirep:0149 is not listed on IDEAS

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