Funded on July 15, 2018

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s (IWPR) simulation model estimates the costs and benefits of paid leave for six common leave types, using data largely derived from the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2012 Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) Survey. The types include 1) own serious medical condition; 2) maternity and childbirth; 3) new child care following birth, adoption, or foster placement; 4) care for spouse; 5) care for children; and 6) care for parents. IWPR plans to improve the financial estimates generated by the model and add health indicators for those who do and don’t take leave from the aspects of the retrospective reporting of worker leave spells in the FMLA data with prospective reporting from panel series such as the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS).

The research team aims to improve the reliability of the estimates of policy decisions and offer the best-available estimates of the costs and benefits of these policies. Benefits may include reduced readmissions and usage of nursing homes for convalescence when family caregivers are available, infant vaccinations received on schedule when workers can take paid leave, and increased initiation and duration of breastfeeding.

For example, with these intended updates, the model can provide a bridge from current knowledge of improved pregnancy outcomes with paid maternity leave to economic savings that can be incorporated into a cost-benefit framework for evaluating future national or state proposals for paid family and medical leave programs.

Principal Investigators: Jeffrey Hayes and Heidi Hartmann, Institute for Women's Policy Research

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