Published In

Occupational Health Science

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Population -- Health aspects, Work environment


Paid leave confers health benefits to new parents and their children, but the absence of a national paid family leave policy in the United States has left workers to navigate a patchwork of paid and unpaid parental leave benefits accessed through their employers. As public and private paid leave policies expand across the US, it is imperative to determine how these benefits impact leave taking behaviors among new parents. We use sequence and cluster analyses of administrative time-keeping records to detail parental leave-taking during the first 180 days after adding a child among employees of a large public-sector organization with a new paid parental leave policy. Results show that the additional paid leave benefits replaced some of the unpaid leave women were taking and also lengthened their total leave duration. For men, who were only taking paid leave, the additional benefits allowed them to save their sick leave but left total leave duration unaffected. This study highlights the complex ways paid leave policies impact leave-taking among new parents. As more state and municipal governments consider paid family leave policies, understanding the interplay between these policies and existing organizational structures is critical to maximize the benefits across the workplace and limit unintended consequences.


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This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Occupational Health Science. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Occupational Health Science.



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