Why should female employees take full maternity leave? - Business Works
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Why should female employees take full maternity leave?

Adi Gaskell, PEX The issue of parental leave is often one that divides opinion. With women now an essential part of the workforce, however, it isnít one thatís going to go away. New research conducted by Rutgers should help underpin the importance of giving women time after the birth of a child.

The study found that women who use paid leave are considerably more likely to return to work within a year of the childís birth than those that did not take any leave. What is also interesting is that these women also reported an increase in their salary from before the birth.

"While we have known for a long time about the maternal and infant health benefits of leave policies, we can now link paid family leave to greater labour force attachment and increased wages for women, as well as to reduced spending by businesses in the form of employee replacement costs, and by governments in the form of public assistance," says author Linda Houser, an affiliate fellow at the Centre for Women and Work at Rutgers.

Whatís more, the study revealed that women who take their full maternity leave were 39% less likely to receive any public assistance compared to those who had not taken any leave. So a woman taking her full maternity leave is generally speaking good for both her own career and the wider economy.

"At a time when governments are struggling with deficits and working families are struggling to stay afloat, this new study shows that allowing workers to take paid time off to recover from illness or care for their families saves precious government and taxpayer resources, while giving families the stability they urgently need," explains Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families.

The researchers outline a number of recommendations to help the situation with paid leave, including:

  • Expand national job-protected family leave policy to include wage replacement for a broader pool of eligible workers.
  • Document potential cost-savings for employers and employees through improved and expanded data collection.
  • Provide outreach and education to employers and employees about the health and income security benefits of existing paid family leave policies.
  • Enlist employers in efforts to improve job retention and competitiveness in hiring through the adoption of paid family leave policies.

Adi Gaskell is a manage at PEX

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