The U.S. Census Bureau recently reported fascinating statistics that should be of great interest to all women of childbearing age. According to the bureau, for the first time since records have been kept, a majority of new moms have been granted and took advantage of maternity leave in the U.S. The data shows that 50.8 percent of new moms received paid maternity leave. Contrast this to 1980s, when only 37.3 percent of new moms received paid time off after the birth of a child.
A census survey taken from 2006 through 2008 of 3.4 million first-time moms working during their pregnancy, sheds light on these new numbers. Part of the increase can be attributed to the fact that more women are working, thus there are more cases of maternity leave. Further, the women most likely to take advantage of offered maternity leave are full-time workers, full-time college students and those considered to be “older” moms. On the flip side, less than 19 percent of moms without a high school diploma took maternity leave.
After maternity leave?
Do women return to work once they have had time with their little one? According to the same survey, more than a fifth of new moms decided to quit their jobs. In fact, 16 percent quit before giving birth with another 6 percent making the decision not to return within less than 3 months following the birth of the baby. Education also seems to have a bearing on the return-to-work decision. The survey revealed half of first-time moms without a college degree quit work during the pregnancy while only 13 percent of college-educated women made the same choice.