California was the first state in the nation in 2002 to enact paid family leave for workers to bond with a new child or care for an ill family member. AIR led a research study, in collaboration with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, to examine the relations among family leave policy, maternal leave-taking, and child and maternal health outcomes. Researchers fielded a survey with English- and Spanish-speaking mothers who had recently given birth and were members of Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California health plans to learn about their experiences with family leave. Combining the survey data with medical records for 2,000 mother-baby dyads, researchers conducted analyses to explore associations between family leave and health.
A number of peer-reviewed publications and policy briefs are forthcoming and will explore such topics as inequality in access to family leave policy, maternal employment and healthcare utilization, breastfeeding, and infant health.
This policy brief examines inequalities in California mothers’ access to family leave benefits, by income and race. It explores California mothers’ awareness of, eligibility for, and use of family leave benefits, including paid leave and job-protected leave afforded under state and federal policy.