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Determinants of maternity leave duration in Australia : evidence from the HILDA survey

journal contribution
posted on 01.09.2011, 00:00 authored by Aydogan UlkerAydogan Ulker, Cahit Guven
We use the first five waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey to examine what determines the maternity leave taken by pre-birth employed mothers of newborn children in Australia. We find that the difficulties faced by mothers in finding appropriate child care in terms of both cost and quality hinder them from returning to the labour market following childbirth. Maternity leave entitlements lead to an earlier return to the labour market following the birth of a child, relative to those who have no leave rights at all. Mothers with higher wages in their pre-birth employment and mothers with higher education levels tend to return to the labour market earlier than their lower wage and less educated counterparts. More flexible pre-birth jobs are associated with an increase in the likelihood of mothers returning to the workforce earlier than the average. Household wealth, however, seems to play a facilitating role in mothers taking a longer period of maternity leave to look after the newborn child. That is, mothers who have higher wealth levels can ‘afford’ to stay on maternity leave longer, to look after their children better during their primary developmental months. We believe that this article provides useful insights into the employment transitions of Australian mothers after having a baby.

History

Journal

Economic record

Volume

87

Issue

278

Pagination

399 - 413

Publisher

Wiley - Blackwell Publishing Asia

Location

Richmond, Vic.

ISSN

0013-0249

eISSN

1475-4932

Language

eng

Notes

Article first published online 21 April 2011

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2011, The Economic Society of Australia