1. Rosenberg, Karen


According to this study:


* The number of U.S. women taking maternity leave has not changed significantly over the past two decades.


* This is true despite recognition of the benefits of allowing parents to spend time with newborn children, and the enactment of laws to protect the right to do so.



Article Content

Allowing parents to take time off from work to be with a new baby offers medical and social benefits to parents, children, and society. It also allows time for women to recover from childbirth. Yet the United States is one of the few countries in the world that doesn't offer guaranteed paid leave to women after they have a baby. The Family and Medical Leave Act, passed in 1993, ensures that eligible workers can take 12 weeks of unpaid leave during the year after the birth of a child. Three states-California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island-have since enacted paid maternity leave legislation.


Researchers sought to determine how many workers take parental leave. They used data from the nationwide Current Population Survey, in which 60,000 randomly selected households are contacted monthly, primarily to determine the U.S. unemployment rate. The authors found that from 1994 to 2015 the average number of U.S. women taking maternity leave remained the same. In a typical month, an average of about 273,000 women took maternity leave. During the same period, there was a threefold increase in the number of men taking paternity leave: from 5,800 per month in 1994 to 22,000 in 2015.


Approximately half of all employees were paid for parental leave, with the proportion increasing during the study period. Men were more likely than women to be paid during leave (66.1% versus 47.5%). The introduction of paid parental leave by several states didn't appear to have a statistically measurable effect on the national number of parents taking time off after the birth of a child.




Zagorsky JL Am J Public Health 2017 107 3 460-5