Online Program

Paid leave benefits of working mothers with children

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:40 a.m.

Megan Shepherd-Banigan, MPH, University of Washington Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Janice Bell, PhD, MPH, Health Services, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Background: The labor force participation rate among women with children in the US is high, but federal laws provide minimal job and financial security for this population, especially compared with other industrialized countries. Paid leave is associated with positive maternal and child health outcomes and is critical to work/family balance. This study describes the current state of paid leave afforded to mothers of infants and examines the geographic and socio-demographic correlates of such benefits to inform the workplace policy agenda in the US. Methods: Using data from the Listening to Mothers II Survey, a national sample of English-speaking women who gave birth in 2005, we conducted multivariable linear and logistic regression analyses to examine the associations between socio-demographic factors and employment leave variables, including paid maternity, sick and personal leave. Results: Forty-one percent of women received paid maternity leave for an average of 3.3 weeks with 31% wage replacement. On average, women took 10 weeks of maternity leave and received 10.4 days of paid sick leave and 11.6 days of paid personal time per year. Race/ethnicity, family income and employment status were associated with paid leave. Conclusions: Currently the majority of female employees with young children in the US do not receive financial compensation for maternity leave and women receive limited annual paid leave to manage health-related family issues. Further, women from low-income families generally receive less generous benefits. Federal policy that supports paid leave may be one avenue to address these disparities and should reflect accepted international standards.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the status of paid leave benefits afforded to women with young children in the US.

Keyword(s): Workforce, Maternal Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Health Services Research doctoral student and am focusing on workplace policies and family health outcomes for my dissertation. I have conducted several studies that focus on related questions. Further, I designed this study and analyzed the data.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.