Another issue is that paid leave often does not

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Another issue is that paid leave often does not completely replace a worker s salary. In California, parents taking paid family leave only receive approximately 55% of their usual pay, up to a maximum of $1129, which means families on the paid leave program experience reduced income during a period of increased expenses. 22 Finally, research shows that some programs are confusing to new parents, and applying for bene fi ts is dif fi cult. 23 We developed a data series showing the number of workers actually using parental leave. This series will supplement occasional government surveys that gather information on company bene fi t plans that include maternity or paternity leave, 24 data from small-scale surveys, 25 and national surveys at a single point in time. 26 METHODS To create a long-term series showing the number of workers actually using maternity leave, we analyzed secondary data from the Current Population Survey (CPS). The pri- mary goal of the CPS is to determine the nation s unemployment rate. The CPS is a monthly national multistage random sample that contacts approximately 60 000 house- holds across all 50 states. 27 The CPS records detailed information on what each person in the household who is aged at least 16 years was doing during the survey week. People analyzed in this research were individuals who had a job but were temporarily absent because they were on maternity or paternity leave. Maternity and paternity categories started in January 1994, which is when a redesigned questionnaire was fi rst introduced to provide more detailed information on reasons for not being at work. 28 We took data from each month from the US Census Bureau s publicly available DataFerret Web site, an Internet-based data analysis and extraction program. 29 DataFerret provides updated CPS information to the public after slightly more than a month lag. Because DataFerret is complex to use and is a relatively unknown resource, an electronic data appendix is available as a supplement to the online version of this article at http:// www.ajph.org that shows the steps needed to extract maternity and paternity data. We extracted monthly data from January 1994, when maternity data begin, until December 2015, the latest full year of data available. We averaged the monthly data to create annual fi gures. We extracted 3 variables from DataFerret: the reason for work absence in the last week, gender, and whether the absence from work was paid. We weighted all data to adjust for the complex survey design and to ensure that the results match national population estimates. We did not do statistical analysis at the state level because DataFerret only identi fi ed 4 geographic re- gions (Northeast, Midwest,South, and West). We analyzed monthly data with least squares regressions. The regressions explain the number of people on parental leave with 11 factors. The factors are the number of births; number of previous month s births; unemployment rates; a time trend; indicators tracking the seasons; state indicators tracking TABLE 1
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