Tuesday, December 13, 2011

In the News: More First-Time Mothers are Receiving Paid Maternity Leave than Ever

In a past post, we shared information about maternity leave practices and laws around the world, including information about requirements and programs offered in the United States. After that blog posted we received several reader comments providing updated parental leave information for several countries. You can read the post and reader comments that followed here.

Recently, there has been some buzz around a news report published by the US Census Bureau about first time mothers’ maternity leave and employment patterns in the United States.

According to the US Census Bureau, more first time mothers than ever before are receiving paid maternity leave. While the maternity leave laws have not changed, there are more moms in the workforce and more mothers using paid leave benefits. New census numbers show 50.8% of new mothers received paid leave between 2006 and 2008. This is up from 43% in 1986-1990. Where did these numbers come from? The US Census Bureau surveyed 3.4 million first time working moms between 2006 and 2008.

While these numbers are encouraging, the US remains only 1 of 3 countries that does not require paid maternity leave. The other 2 are Swaziland and Papua New Guinea.

Other Interesting Findings about First Time Moms’ Employment

• While 2/3 of new moms with college degrees received paid leave, only 19% of mothers without a high school diploma received paid leave.
• The mean age of mothers at the birth of their first child was 25 years; that’s up from 21.4 years in 1970.
• Education level had increased among mothers with almost ¼ completing a Bachelor’s degree or more, compared to only 9% in 1970.
• From 2006-2008, 66% of women worked while pregnant. About the same number worked in the 1980’s, but between 1961-1965, less than half (44%) of women worked during pregnancy.
• Among mothers who worked while pregnant, about 88% worked into their last trimester and 65% worked until the last month of pregnancy.
• Less than 10% returned to work by 3 months postpartum in 1961, whereas almost 45% returned to work by 3 months in 2005-2007.

-Source: US Census Bureau

What have been your experiences with parental leave? How old was your baby when you first returned to work after your baby’s birth? We’d love to hear your stories and thoughts.

Resources and References

For more about the family medical leave act (FMLA) in the United States, click here.

To read the full census report about maternity leave and employment patterns of first- time moms, click here.

Read a previous post about Preparing for Maternity Leave here.

1 comment:

  1. I'm very lucky that my employer gives 6 weeks paid parental leave and then allows us to take up to another 6 weeks of leave using our sick leave and vacation under FMLA. My boss specifically has been wonderful; she allows for some work from home and part-time work to allow for a smoother transition back into the workplace. I went back to work part-time when my daughter (now 2 1/2 with #2 on the way) was 10 weeks old and full time when she was 14 weeks. It was hard coming back to work, but it wasn't financially feasible for me or my husband to stay home.