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The Effects of California's Paid Family Leave Program on Mothers’ Leave-Taking and Subsequent Labor Market Outcomes

Authors

  • Maya Rossin-Slater,

  • Christopher J. Ruhm,

  • Jane Waldfogel


Abstract

This analysis uses March Current Population Survey data from 1999 to 2010 and a differences-in-differences approach to examine how California's first in the nation paid family leave (PFL) program affected leave-taking by mothers following childbirth, as well as subsequent labor market outcomes. We obtain robust evidence that the California program doubled the overall use of maternity leave, increasing it from an average of three to six weeks for new mothers—with some evidence of particularly large growth for less advantaged groups. We also provide evidence that PFL increased the usual weekly work hours of employed mothers of 1- to 3-year-old children by 10 to 17 percent and that their wage incomes may have risen by a similar amount.

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