Labor unions help employees take more paid maternity leave

“Simply enacting or offering a paid parental leave plan does not automatically mean that workers will take a leave. So we need to better understand the factors that prevent workers from taking a leave, and ways to reduce these barriers,” says Tae-Youn Park, Assistant Professor of Management and Brownlee O. Curry Jr. Dean’s Faculty Fellow at the Owen Graduate School of Management. “One of the challenges with research into these issues, however, is that the decision to take leave is very complex.”

Park, in new research to be published in the Industrial and Labor Relations Review, breaks down the leave-taking decision into four key steps:

  • Availability: The policy needs to be available,

  • Awareness: the worker needs to be aware of it,

  • Affordability: the worker needs to believe she can afford to take a leave, and

  • Assurance: the worker needs to have implicit or explicit assurances that taking paid leave is unlikely to result in negative consequences.