What does it mean to be a successful working parent? And how do working parents cope in the United States, the only developed nation with no paid parental leave requirement? Despite some positive advancement in the voluntary adoption of paid parental leave, many organizations over the past 25 years have instead decreasedpaid leave benefits offered to employees in the US, choosing instead to let unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act serve in its place. This regression in practice is perhaps the greatest unintended consequence of FMLA, and surely was not the intent of Congress. Maternity Leave: Policy and Practice, Second Edition approaches parental leave from a variety of perspectives: legal, political, social, institutional, organizational, and most importantly, from the personal perspectives of the women and men interviewed expressly for the book.
This second edition offers two new chapters: the first puts the issue of maternity leave within the context of work/life balance issues, and the second explores case studies from states, cities, and private organizations. Incorporating new census data, related reports, and academic studies, authors Victoria Gordon and Beth Rauhaus utilize relevant and cutting-edge research in their exploration of parental leave, but they enrich this research with the individual stories of ordinary working parents, as well as those who choose not to have children. Assuming no prior specialized knowledge, this book can be assigned on a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in politics, public policy, public administration, gender studies, and human resource management.
"The United States is among the only advanced nations in the world that does not mandate paid maternity leave to its employers. Addressing a gap in the public administration literature, Maternity Leave, Second Edition is very well researched and covers a lot of ground from work-life balance, legislation related to pregnancy and maternity leave, birthrates, fertility rates, women’s health, comparing international parental leave policies, to presenting in-depth profiles of women who have confronted challenges while utilizing maternity leave. This book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in the topic of maternity leave." – Meghna Sabharwal, University of Texas at Dallas, USA
"Gordon and Rauhaus provide a truly comprehensive approach to the study of maternity leave. They bring together a broad array of data and perspectives to provide a holistic view. This book is a must read, not only for scholars and policy makers, but anyone interested in – or affected by – pregnancy and maternity leave policies." – Mary McThomas, University of California, Irvine, USA
"This edition delivers a truly definitive exploration of maternity leave. Looking back and leaning forward, this book leaves no corner unexamined. Personnel administrators, those who teach, or simply those interested in understanding parental leave for personal use will appreciate Gordon and Rauhaus’s depth and insights." – Hillary J. Knepper, Pace University, New York, USA
"Victoria Gordon and Beth Rauhaus’s insight and discoveries are eye-opening. Their ideas and solutions can help break the glass ceiling, support modern families, and boost the economy. I hope every executive manager and policy maker reads it and, in turn, creates the change we need." – Elena Donovan Mauer, Parenting Writer and Editor, New York, USA
List of Figures
List of Tables
Introduction: What Have We Done to
Maternity Leave—An Unresolved Conversation?
Are Maternity Leave Expectations and Realities
Defining and Refining Work-Life Balance
The Benefits to Organizations with Work-Life Balance Policies
Work-Life Balance Employee Benefits for a Diverse Workforce
Background: Understanding the Legislative Intent and Symbolism of Public Policies
In the Beginning: The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
The Tax Code and Child Care and Child Tax Credits
The Promises and Problems of the Family and Medical Leave Act
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
The Economic, Social, and Symbolic Implications of Maternity Leave Policies
The Evolution and Devolution of Maternity Leave as an Employee Benefit
Trends in Birthrates, Fertility Rates, Employment Patterns, and Use of Maternity Leave Benefits
Types of Maternity Leave Taken—Paid and Unpaid
Types of Paternity and Parental Leave Policies
Examples of Maternity Leave Policies
Antenatal Leave and Short-Term Disability Leave
No Leave and Permanent Exit from the Workplace
Women’s Health Care and the Workplace
Health Insurance for Women of Childbearing Age
Intended and Unintended Pregnancies
Pregnancy and Work
Pregnancy and Factors Impacting Infant Mortality
Delivery, Maternal Mortality and Morbidity
Maternity Leave and Infant Mortality
Mother’s Return to Work and Breast-Feeding
Well-Baby Doctor Visits
Optimal Length of Maternity Leave
The Baby’s Perspective
The Need for a Holistic Approach to Women’s Health
The Methodology: Why Qualitative Research?
Analysis of the Interviews
The Participants: Who Are These Women?
Description of the In-Depth Interview Questions
The Interviews: Profiles of Women and Their Perceptions and Experiences
Employees of Public Universities
Employees of Private Universities
Employees of the Pharmaceutical Industry
The Themes: How Women Cope with the Myths and Realities of Maternity Leave
Inconsistencies in Administration of Maternity Leave Policies
It Is All in the Timing
Transition Back to Work
Breast-Feeding, Pumping, and the Workplace
Unmet Needs and Professional Concerns
The Other Voices
Students Who Are Mothers: Is It Better to Have Children at a Younger Age?
Fathers Who Utilized Paternity Leave
Challenges Faced by Same-Sex Couples Who Decide to Become Parents
Women Who Decided Not to Have Children
Unsupportive versus Supportive Colleagues—The Stereotypes and Biases
Administrative Views—Rules versus Discretion
An International Comparison—The Other Kingdoms
What Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, and Parental Leave Benefits Are Offered in Other Countries?
Why Is the United States Lagging behind Other Countries in Providing Maternity Leave Benefits?
Progress: Baby Steps
Federal Maternity Leave Policy
State Maternity Leave Policies
Paid Leave in the States
Unpaid and Partially Paid Leave in the States
Local Government Maternity Leave Policies
Private Sector Maternity leave Policies and Best Practices
Conclusion: Can the Fairy Tale Be Realized or Should It Be Rewritten?
What Are the Obstacles to a Happy Ending for Our Daughters?
What Can We Reasonably Expect to Change within Our Organizations?
What Is Best for Society?
Restoring the Fairy Tale