(Fiona Goodall/Getty Images) The share of moms who are working either full or part time in the United States has increased over the past half-century from 51% to 72%, and almost half of two-parent families now include two full-time working parents. How Much Vacation Time and Pay Do Employees Get? Half of all mothers of infants in the US work outside of the home, with most of them returning to work by the third month. In terms of how much pay new moms receive on maternity leave, the average weekly pay for state paid leave programs ranged from $637 to $1,216. By using The Balance Careers, you accept our. Another explanation could be lower levels of government oversight in how companies set their policies regarding maternity leave. World at Work. More new moms cut maternity leave short." The International Labor Organization (ILO) specifies guidelines for maternity leave standards, which are currently observed by 119 countries. One difficulty in studying this question is that maternal health may affect the decision to return to work and returning to work may affect maternal health, making it difficult to isolate the causal effect of length of maternity leave on health. "More Than 120 Nations Offer Paid Maternity Leave." Finally, the authors find that returning to work later is associated with only a very small reduction in the probability of having at least three postpartum outpatient visits. Compared to other countries, the U.S. lags behind when it comes to the average maternity leave length. And several states have enacted legislation to provide paid family leave benefits for new parents; paid leave is available for up to eight weeks, although some participating states plan to extend this up to 12 weeks by 2020. Accessed March 31, 2020. On average, paid maternity leave lasts four weeks. Different? The United States is the only high-income country to not offer paid maternity leave on a federal level. Today.com. That could help to supplement your household income until you return to work. The guidelines call for a minimum 12-week maternity leave, with at least 14 weeks recommended. Yet little is known about the effect of longer maternity leaves on the physical and mental health of mothers. And the remaining third of new moms don't take any time off at all, going back to work almost right away. Maternity leave in the United States is regulated by US labor law. In a 2018 Cato survey. Do Longer Maternity Leaves Affect Maternal Health? ", "More Than 120 Nations Provide Paid Maternity Leave. While companies must allow for the 12 unpaid weeks of leave required by FMLA, there's no federal law that says they also have to pay their employees on maternity leave. Does the Length of Maternity Leave Affect Maternal Health? For the majority of US workers at companies with fewer than 50 employees, there is no legal right to paid or unpaid leave to care for a ne… And the standard established by the ILO also specifies that women should be paid at least two-thirds of their earnings while on leave, while receiving full health insurance benefits. ", "Poll: 74% of Americans Support Federal Paid Leave Program When Costs Not Mentioned — 60% Oppose if They Got Smaller Pay Raises in the Future. A smaller percentage of moms–16%–only take one to four weeks off work following childbirth. Accessed March 31, 2020. ", "More Than 120 Nations Offer Paid Maternity Leave. Countries that adhere to the ILO standards require women to give their employers advance notice for taking paid maternity leave. In fact, the U.S. is one of only a few industrialized countries that don't mandate paid maternity leave for new parents. Among private employers that offer paid parental leave, 80% provide their employees with full pay during the leave period. There are a number of reasons that could explain why the U.S. takes a different view of maternity leave compared to other countries. And finally, check to see if your employer offers short-term disability insurance that includes maternity coverage. Accessed March 31, 2020. International Labour Organization. Department of Labor. The authors use the well-known Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) to measure mental health and the number of maternal postpartum outpatient visits to measure overall physical and mental health. Accessed March 31, 2020. ", "The pressure is on to modernize time-off benefits: 6 survey findings. Errors in the Social Security Disability Award Process. The act might be expected to have had beneficial effects on the mental and physical health of postpartum women, yet a decade later, it remains an open question whether there was such an effect. "The pressure is on to modernize time-off benefits: 6 survey findings." The data for their analysis is the National Maternal and Infant Health Survey, which includes data on prenatal care and postpartum outcomes for a sample of about 1,800 women who had live births and returned to work in 1988. Somewhat surprising, however, returning to work later is not associated with a decrease in the probability of being clinically depressed, as measured by reaching a threshold value on the CES-D scale. "Survey of Paid Parental Leave in the United States." The Effect of Anti-Fraud Enforcement on Medicare Costs and Quality. In their analysis, they estimate the relationship between their predicted length of maternity leave measure for each mother and her physical and mental health. Mercer. Check your emergency fund savings cushion to make sure you have money in reserves for unexpected costs. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993(FMLA) requires 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually for mothers of newborn or newly adopted children if they work for a company with 50 or more employees. FAS.org. ", One possibility may be that women are less likely to be the. When the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) passed, one of its goals was to help new parents balance the demands of work and family by allowing them to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave. In Does the Length of Maternity Leaves Affect Maternal Health? The companies with the most generous paid maternity leave policies include Netflix, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Automattic. "More Than 120 Nations Provide Paid Maternity Leave." Tips for Job Searching While You’re Pregnant, Get a List of Federal Holidays and Learn About the Pay for Time Off, What You Need to Know About the FAMILY Act, "Two weeks after baby? "Poll: 74% of Americans Support Federal Paid Leave Program When Costs Not Mentioned — 60% Oppose if They Got Smaller Pay Raises in the Future." To surmount this problem, the authors make use of the fact that prior to passage of the FMLA, the states had different maternity leave laws. When planning for a new baby, one thing you may be curious about is how much time you'll have for maternity leave. Recent research suggests that longer maternity leaves may benefit infant health and development - children whose mothers take longer leaves have been found to have lower mortality rates and higher test scores. ", "Survey of Paid Parental Leave in the United States. More than 120 countries   offer paid maternity leave and health benefits by law; the Czech Republic offers the most paid maternity leave by law, at 28 weeks. Roughly half of new moms take at least five weeks of leave, while 25% take nine weeks or longer to stay home with a new baby. The authors reconcile these findings by showing that returning to work later is beneficial for women in relatively good mental health, but less so for severely depressed women. Cato. "Family and Medical Leave Act." In some countries, being eligible for paid leave can depend on the number of children a woman already has, how frequently she gives birth, how long she's been with the employer and/or her working hours. Just 33 countries mandate maternity leave of less than 12 weeks. Regardless of whether you take the average maternity leave of 10 weeks, or go shorter or longer with your leave plans, you need to consider the financial impact if you won't be collecting a paycheck during that time. Rebecca Lake covers financial planning and credit for The Balance. To surmount this problem, the authors make use of the fact that prior to passage of the FMLA, the states had different maternity leave laws. The authors are able to predict the length of a mother's maternity leave based on the generosity of her state's leave law and other factors unrelated to her health, such as local economic conditions. Approximately 70% of women report taking time off following pregnancy, with the average maternity leave lasting 10 weeks. The extent to which individual responses to household surveys are protected from discovery by outside parties depends... © 2020 National Bureau of Economic Research. The authors conclude that policies that encourage longer maternity leaves may reduce depressive symptoms among employed mothers, but that there is no evidence that longer maternity leaves reduce the number of cases of clinical depression or affect overall physical and mental health as measured by the number of outpatient visits. According to a 2018 Mercer survey, 40% of employers now offer some form of paid maternity leave, up from 25% in 2015. "Two weeks after baby? Additionally, several states have adopted laws extending the requirements of FMLA to smaller companies. (NBER Working Paper 10206), Pinka Chatterji and Sara Markowitz explore whether mothers who return to work later have better mental and physical health. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows workers to take up to 12 workweeks in a 12-month period for parental leave to care for a newborn. For example, some countries limit women to two paid leaves during the course of their careers, while others require women to leave a three-year gap between leave periods. Accessed March 31, 2020. The 2020 Martin Feldstein Lecture: Journey Across a Century of Women, Summer Institute 2020 Methods Lectures: Differential Privacy for Economists, The Bulletin on Retirement and Disability, Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, Conference on Econometrics and Mathematical Economics, Conference on Research in Income and Wealth, Improving Health Outcomes for an Aging Population, Measuring the Clinical and Economic Outcomes Associated with Delivery Systems, Retirement and Disability Research Center, The Roybal Center for Behavior Change in Health, Training Program in Aging and Health Economics, Transportation Economics in the 21st Century, COVID-19 Mortality Lower in Higher-Ranked Nursing Homes, Revenue Redistribution in Big-Time College Sports.