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What do unions do for mothers? Paid maternity leave use and the multifaceted roles of labor unions

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Park, Tae-Youn, Lee, Eun-Suk & Budd, John W.
Publication Date: 
25 Jul 2018


The authors present a four-fold conceptual framework of union roles for enhancing workers’ paid maternity leave use, consisting of availability, awareness, affordability, and assurance. Using a panel data set constructed from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, workers represented by unions are found to be at least 16 percent more likely to use paid maternity leave than comparable non-union workers. Additional results suggest that availability, awareness, and affordability contribute to this differential leave-taking. The authors also document a post-leave wage growth penalty for paid leave-takers, but do not find a significant union-nonunion difference.