NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- A greater percentage of working moms are choosing to take maternity leave – both paid and unpaid – for the birth of their first child, the U.S. Census Bureau reports.
According to the census data, 51% of working women who had their first birth between 2006 and 2008 received paid leave (i.e. maternity leave, sick leave, vacation time), compared to 49% between 2001 and 2005 and 42% between 1996 and 2000.
“The last three decades have seen major changes in the work patterns of expectant mothers,” said Lynda Laughlin, a family demographer at the Census Bureau. “Access to paid leave makes it possible for mothers to care for their newborns and maintain financial stability.”
But it’s not just mothers with paid maternity leave who are choosing to take time off to be with their newborns. The census report also found that 42% of first-time moms received unpaid maternity leave between 2006 and 2008, versus 38% between 2001 and 2005.
The findings come from Maternity Leave and Employment Patterns of First-Time Mothers: 1961-2008, a report that analyzes trends in women’s work experience before their first child, identifies their maternity leave arrangements before and after the birth and examines how rapidly they returned to work.