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date: 24 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Maternity and family leave policies enable mothers to take time off work to recover from childbirth and care for new children. While the policies differ across countries, the existing research yields the following conclusions. First, despite barriers to leave take-up, implementation and extensions of programs increase leave-taking among new parents. Second, leave entitlements less than one year in length can improve job continuity for women and increase employment rates several years after childbirth; longer leaves can negatively influence women’s labor market outcomes. Third, extensions in existing paid leave policies have no impact on measures of child well-being, but the introduction of short programs can improve children’s short- and long-term outcomes. Fourth, while more research is needed, the current evidence shows minimal impacts of existing US state-level programs on employer-level outcomes.

Keywords: maternity leave, family leave, working mothers, female labor supply, motherhood wage penalty

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