Research Paper MPIDR Working Paper Series 2007-009
Eligibility for maternity leave and first birth timing in Great Britain
01 Feb 2007
This paper examines the impact of maternity leave legislation on first birth timing in Great Britain. When maternity leave was introduced in Great Britain in 1976, the eligibility requirement for full-time employees was to have been working for the same employer for at least 2 years. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), this paper examines whether women postponed first birth in accordance with tenure requirements for maternity leave. Higher transition rates to first birth are found for those who had acquired enough employer tenure to qualify for maternity leave than for those who did not yet qualify. However, the causal role of maternity leave legislation for first birth timing is uncertain, since transition rates to first birth began to diverge by employer tenure even before 1976.