Maternity Leave in Russia: Policies and Effects on Labor Market Transitions and Childbearing

Brienna Perelli-Harris, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Theodore P. Gerber, University of Wisconsin at Madison

This study focuses on maternity leave in Russia during a period of rapid social and economic change. By analyzing retrospective employment and reproductive histories from 1985-2000, we examine whether maternity leave led to an increase in second birth rates or influenced women’s labor market transitions. The results show that women on maternity leave were one-third less likely to quit employment and nearly twice as likely to change jobs compared to women who were currently working. In the post-Soviet period, women on maternity leave had a hazard of reentering employment twice as high as those who were unemployed and a hazard of layoff only about one-third of otherwise similar women who were actively working. Women who took maternity leave also had higher second conception rates than women who did not. Thus, maternity leave provided women with a way to maintain a foothold in the labor force and led to higher fertility.

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Presented in Session 129: Work and Family Issues