Understanding employer provision of paid parental leave in NY, CT, and PA

Project Summary:

This project will quantify the level of and inequality in employer-provided paid parental leave by fielding a survey of small and medium-sized employers in three relatively low-wage industries (including retail) in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The work is likely to make a significant contribution to our understanding of a currently hazy empirical picture of the social insurance system in the United States. Poor federal data collection on leave policy means that studies such as this one are a valuable addition. The authors will assess the availability, quality, and employee take-up of leave offered. One main advantage of funding this survey is that it will provide pre-treatment data collection for New York before the recently passed paid family leave law goes into effect in January, 2018. The investigators’ previous Rhode Island study is widely cited and useful to policymakers working on these issues, and we expect this to be similarly impactful.


Jane Waldfogel is a professor of social work and public affairs at Columbia School of Social Work and a visiting professor at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at the London School of Economics. Waldfogel received her Ph.D. in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She has written extensively on the impact of public policies on child and family well-being. Her books include: Britain’s War on Poverty (Russell Sage Foundation, 2010); Steady Gains and Stalled Progress: Inequality and the Black-White Test Score Gap (Russell Sage Foundation, 2008); What Children Need (Harvard University Press, 2006); Securing the Future: Investing in Children from Birth to College (Russell Sage Foundation, 2000); and The Future of Child Protection: How to Break the Cycle of Abuse and Neglect (Harvard University Press, 1998). Her current research includes studies of work-family policies, improving the measurement of poverty, and understanding social mobility across countries.