Ohio State University Study Shows No Increase in Maternity Leave Over the Past 20 Years

Ohio State UniversityA study by Jay Zagorsky, a research scientist at the Center for Human Resource Research at Ohio State University, has conducted a study that shows the number of women taking maternity leave has leveled off.

Dr. Zagorsky’s research showed that between 1994 and 2015, there were an average of 273,000 women on maternity leave each month. The number of women taking maternity leave was relatively constant during this period. This is true despite the fact that the U.S. economy grew by 65 percent during the period adding millions of jobs. In addition, several states enacted paid family leave legislation that presumably would make maternity leave more attractive to women. Federal law requires employers to offer 12 weeks of unpaid family leave for new parents. Less than half of all women taking maternity leave are paid during their time at home.

Dr. Zagorsky said “there’s a lot of research that shows the benefits of allowing parents, especially mothers, to spend time with newborn children. Unfortunately, the number of women who receive those benefits has stagnated.”

The research also showed that an average of 5,800 men took paternity leave in 1994. This rose to 22,000 men per month in 2015.

The study, “Divergent Trends in US Maternity and Paternity Leave, 1994–2015,” was published on the website of the American Journal of Public Health. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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