New Jersey's Paid Family Leave: The Effects of State Public Policy on Mothers' Labor Outcomes
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Until 2002, the United States was the only advanced industrialized nation that failed to offer financial benefits to mothers taking employment leave to care for their newborn children. The first paid family leave policy (PFL) in the U.S. was implemented in California in 2004, followed by New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance, implemented in 2009. We study how New Jersey’s PFL policy affected mothers’ labor outcomes. We examine the question: Did New Jersey’s paid family leave policy decrease mothers’ connection to employment? We hypothesize that women who had access to this benefit were more likely and more prepared to return to work after the birth of a child as shown by their subsequent employment outcomes. This study compares labor outcomes of mothers of children under age one in New Jersey against: those New Jersey mothers with children ages three to five, Philadelphia mothers with a child under age one and all other states’ mothers with a child under age one. We utilized the American Community Survey years 2000 to 2013, via the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) database. The American Community Survey data provided information on labor market outcomes for a large and nationally representative sample. This study found that during the post policy period the New Jersey treatment group of working mothers with a child under one year of age was more likely to be employed than the control group of New Jersey working mothers with a child age three to five.