Little Impact From Family Leave Law
April 13, 2000
The federal family leave law guaranteed new mothers and fathers working for larger employers unpaid maternity leave after the birth of a child. Before the law was passed, most women who returned to full-time work after childbirth went back to their old jobs. Thus the law has had a far smaller impact than originally anticipated, concludes a recent RAND Corporation study.
Researchers Jacob Alex Klerman and Arleen Leibowitz compared the employment patterns of working new mothers with those of other working women of similar age and education.
- Prior to the law's passage, 89 percent of mothers working full-time both a year before and six months after childbirth wound up working for the same employer.
- Among other full-timers, 97 percent were working for the same boss after a similar 18 month period.
- Thus, having a child appears to cause only 8 percent of mothers to switch full-time jobs.
In sum, most working new mothers seem to have held on to their jobs even before the legislation.
Source: Gene Koretz, "Did Maternity Leave Law Help?" Business Week, April 17, 2000.
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