Panel: Paid Leave: Implications for New Mothers, Caregivers, and Employers
(Family and Child Policy)

Friday, November 3, 2017: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Stetson BC (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Johanna Thunell, University of Southern California
Panel Chairs:  Aparna Mathur, American Enterprise Institute
Discussants:  Jane Waldfogel, Columbia University

In 2016, the US presidential election’s focus on working families brought paid leave policies to the mainstream political agenda, with proposals from candidates in both major parties. Although there is debate over who should be covered, how long the leave should last, and how to pay for it, support for national paid leave appears to be growing along the political spectrum. A recent Pew Research Center (2017) study revealed a large majority of Americans also support the idea of providing workers paid leave after the birth of a child, to care for a loved one, or to deal with their own illness; however, many people believe employers (rather than government) should pay for the leave. Providing evidence of the effects of paid leave on a variety of outcomes, types of workers, and employers is important to inform policymakers in future debates on this critical issue. 

Researchers in multiple disciplines explore the impact of paid parental leave on the labor supply and wages of new parents. While research generally reveals a positive effect of such policies on outcomes like leave-taking and employment in the short-run, there remains some debate about the longer-term effects of such a policy on both workers and employers. This session seeks to highlight emerging evidence on previously unexplored facets of paid leave in two contexts: California and Great Britain. Specifically, the four papers in this panel estimate the effect of paid leave on longer-term labor market outcomes for new parents, employer behavior, and caregivers’ labor supply.

The outcomes of session will be threefold: (1) provide high-quality analytical research documenting the effects of paid leave; (2) offer insight to policymakers as the debate surrounding paid family leave intensifies at the national level; and (3) bring together scholars in the field to promote collaboration and future research.

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