Masahiro Abe, Yoshio Higuchi and Jane Waldfogel
Published January 1998
This paper uses microdata from the United States, Britain and Japan to examine the effects of family leave coverage on women's employment after childbirth. The United States had no national family leave legislation until 1993, but many women were covered by employer policies. Britain has had maternity leave legislation since 1978, but until 1993 only about half of working women were covered. Japan has had maternity leave legislation since 1947 but not all workers were covered. We find that young children continue to have a very negative effect on women's employment, particularly in Britain. We also find that family leave coverage increases the likelihood that a woman will return to her employer after childbirth, with a particularly marked effect in Japan. This result suggests that the recent expansions in family leave coverage are likely to lead to increased employment of women after childbirth.