To Work or Not to Work: Predicting Timing of Maternal Entry into the Labor Force after Birth and Its Effect on Children

Maria A Ramos Olazagasti, New York University
Patrick Shrout, New York University

This study uses data from a low-income, ethnically diverse and immigrant sample to examine the timing of mothers’ employment the first year after birth and the influence of socio-demographic characteristics, work/family values and plans, maternity leave and social support on the timing of maternal employment after birth. It also studies the effect of the timing of maternal employment on children’s cognitive and socio-emotional outcomes. Survival analysis was used to predict the timing of maternal employment from predictors. Fifty percent of the mothers started working by the 9th month. Maternity leave benefit, plans to work and for childcare, work orientation, father’s employment and household earnings were all associated with the timing of employment after birth. The effect of social support on the timing of employment was moderated by ethnicity. Preliminary findings show that later employment during the first year was associated with better children’s socio-emotional outcomes.

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Presented in Session 9: Mother’s Work and Child Outcomes