Other including mixed 04 41 educational attainment b

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Other, including mixed race 6.7 7.1 0.4 .41 Educational attainment b < high-school education 5.7 20.8 15.1 < .01 High-school degree 22.7 29.6 6.9 < .01 Attended college 71.6 49.7 +21.9 < .01 Source. Maternity leave data from the Current Population Survey. 29 Birth data from US Vital Statistics. 31,32 a Column shows whether the difference between mothers on maternity leave and those giving birth is statistically distinct. P values determined by t test. b Because educational data frombirth certi fi cate records has not been released for 2015, the calculations for educational attainment stop in 2014. AJPH RESEARCH 462 Research Peer Reviewed Zagorsky AJPH March 2017, Vol 107, No. 3
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As shown in Figure 1, the proportion of those on parenting leave who were paid in- creased during the study period. Regressions explaining the percentage of paid leave using time as the explanatory variable show that each year approximately 0.32 percentage points ( t stat 5.9; P < .01) more workers re- ceived paid time off. Broken down by gender, the growth in paid paternity leave was 0.44 percentage points ( t stat 2.3; P = .03) per year, whereas paid maternity leave grew at 0.26 percentage points ( t stat 4.7; P < .01) per year. DISCUSSION This research determined that from 1994 to 2015, slightly more than a quarter of a million US women workers took maternity leave each month, and over this time frame, there was no increase or decrease in the number or rate of women on maternity leave. This lack of a trend is surprising because 3 states implemented paid maternity leave legislation. Potential reasons for the lack of a trend are that paid maternity legislation is ineffective, not fully implemented, or too narrowly de fi ned to have an impact, or leg- islative changes in some states were offset by changes occurring in other states or regions. Other potential reasons are that mothers are not using up their maternity leave, but instead are saving or banking time off from work to ensure they can handle fi rst-year wellness visits and unexpected sickness. In addition, mothers might not take leave for fear of losing their positions or cannot afford fi nancially to lose their job s income. The lack of change is not attributable to trends in the number of working women. In 1994, approximately 42 million women aged 16 to 45 years were in the US labor force. Although this number uctuated as economic conditions changed, in 2015 there were 42 million childbearing-age women in the labor force. The lack of trend is also likely not attributable to women dropping out of the workforce. Census Bureau estimates from 1981 to 2008 show a steadily falling per- centage of women quitting their jobs after giving birth. 33 The change is also not likely to be attributable to men shifting out of the labor force and into primary caregiver roles, as the male labor force expanded over the time period. 34 The lack of change is surprising because during this period the United States experi- enced dramatic economic growth with in ation-adjusted gross domestic product rising from $9.9 trillion a year in 1994 to $16.4 trillion in 2015. This suggests, but cannot prove, that the bene fi ts of the large economic expansion did not ow to women with newborn children.
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