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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Downsizing Maternity Leave

Employers are cutting back on post-childbirth pay for mothers and offering shorter leaves, on average, for both moms and dads, compared with a decade ago, according to an article on

Employers aren't deliberately targeting new mothers with pay cuts. Maternity leave is caught in the crossfire over rising disability costs, the article said. New mothers are being hit by a cost-cutting move among employers toward paying only a fraction of full pay to workers on short-term disability, rather than 100% as was common in the past, as an incentive for employees to return to work as soon as they're able.

A study by the nonprofit Families and Work Institute included these statistics:

  • Only 16% of employers offer full pay for childbirth leave, down from 27% in 1998, based on a nationally representative sample of 1,100 employers
  • The average maximum length of job-guaranteed leaves for new mothers shrank to 15.2 weeks from 16.1 weeks a decade ago; leave for dads fell to 12.6 weeks from 13.1.

Go to the Families and Work Institute Web site to view an ABC News World Tonight video clip "Work and Family," that includes a discussion about maternity leave benefits.

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