• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Maternity Leave

  • By: Heather Wyatt-Nichol
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Maternity leave is a leave of absence from one's employer to meet the physical and emotional demands experienced by women during the late stages of pregnancy and in their new role as mothers. Maternity leave promotes equality in the workplace by providing women job protection when they become pregnant and give birth. The absence of job protection during pregnancy and childbirth places women at a disadvantage in the labor market, historically evident in the United States prior to legislative mandates, as women were often forced to give up their jobs.

Not surprisingly, studies have since demonstrated that maternity leave coverage increases employment for women after the birth of a child. A study conducted by Jane Waldfogel found that 55 percent of women who were employed prior ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles