Mothers in the Military: Effect of Maternity Leave Policy on Take-Up
Heissel, Jennifer A.
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The United States remains the only OECD nation without national paid maternity leave. This paper exploits changes in paid maternity leave offered by one of its largest employers, the U.S. Department of Defense. Since 2015, the U.S. Marine Corps has shifted their maternity leave policy from six to 18 to 12 weeks. Leave expansions increased leave duration while contractions decreased leave taken by active-duty service members. However, the policy changes crowded out other forms of leave: with an increase in maternity leave available, mothers increased use of maternity leave and stopped supplementing with additional annual leave. Though all mothers used the full six weeks of leave in the early period, it is the less advantaged mothers—in the enlisted ranks, first-time, and single mothers—who disproportionately used more of the additional leave than officers, experienced mothers, and married mothers. Pregnant officers, experienced mothers, and single women use less leave than non-pregnant women in the months leading up to birth, but expecting additional post-birth leave did not change average pre-birth leave-taking. Our results highlight the importance of optimally sizing family leave policies and provide evidence that the true cost of such programs may be lower than the raw count of weeks provided by additional maternity leave allowances.
DRAFT VersionThe article of record as published may be found at https://doi.org/10.1215/00703370-9816044
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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Bacolod, Marigee; Heissel, Jennifer A.; Laurita, Laura; Molloy, Matthew; Sullivan, Ryan (SSRN, 2020);The United States remains the only OECD nation without national paid maternity leave. This paper exploits changes in paid maternity leave offered by one of the United States’ largest employers, the U.S. Department of ...
Bacolod, Marigee; Heissel, Jennifer A.; Laurita, Laura; Molloy, Matthew; Sullivan, Ryan (Duke University Press, 2022);This study exploits changes in paid maternity leave offered by one of the United States’ largest employers, the Department of Defense, to estimate the effect of such policies on mothers' leave-taking. Since 2015, the U.S. ...
Laurita, Laura; Molloy, Matthew (Monterey, CA; Naval Postgraduate School, 2019-03);The United States has no federal mandates for paid family leave (PFL), an unusual standing among the world’s developed countries. Recent Department of Defense (DoD) policy initiatives have expanded paid maternity and family ...