Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Stat of the Day: Paid Maternity Leave

Out of 168 countries surveyed by Jody Heymann, who teaches at both the Harvard School of Public Health and McGill University, the U.S. is one of only five without mandatory paid maternity leave—along with Lesotho, Liberia, Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland.

--The Opt-Out Myth, by E. J. Graff

From an economics standpoint, I'm not sure what impact this has--the increased labor flexibility may compensate for the economic hardship of unpaid maternity leave--but it is a pretty striking stat.


jax said...

Long may it ever be so.

I'd be interested to know what percentage of companies offer paid maternity leave without having to be battered with the state cane.

Chris said...

In an efficient market, the fact that companies do not offer paid maternity leave would mean that companies have rationally decided that the additional benefits of added loyalty, retention, etc., would outweigh the costs of the program.

Of course, the market isn't necessarily efficient.

Foobarista said...

How many Silicon Valley startups would pay an employee who was unavailable for months but adding to the burn rate? Very few, I'd imagine; a few SV companies are famous for their generous benefits, but very few of them were this way when they actually started up.

Chris said...

I think it all depends on the employee. The problem with paid maternity leave as a retention tactic is that once the employee has given birth to her last child, it no longer has an impact.

On the other hand, if you're Google, and can affort the perk, it's a great way to signal to all your employees that you care about them.

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