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Employment decisions following maternity leave.

Ackah, Elizabeth Carol (1997) Employment decisions following maternity leave. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Employment among women with children has grown rapidly in the United Kingdom since the early 1980s. Nonetheless, in this society motherhood remains the major correlate of female labour force participation and women, on becoming a mother, typically make a decision as to whether they should leave employment, interrupting their working lives to raise children, or continue in employment throughout the childbearing years. The aims of this study were to explore the decisions made by women on the transition to motherhood, and to gain an understanding of why some women continue in employment while others do not. The research for the study was based on interviews with a sample of two hundred and two women, who were first time mothers, taking maternity leave from employment in the health service in Northern Ireland. The interviews were structured around eight propositions suggesting a probablistic relationship between various characteristics and circumstances, and the likelihood of a woman continuing in employment. The study found that almost three-quarters of women intended to return to work. Analysis of the data indicated that for the majority, the co-existence and interaction of three variables - high earnings, availability of childcare and a care-sharing partner - influenced the likelihood of a woman continuing in employment. The conclusions drawn are that a woman's circumstances, in particular her income level, the availability of childcare, and the support of her partner, will largely determine the choice-set available to her, and hence may restrict the role which personal preference can play in her employment decision following maternity leave. The policy implications of the study's findings are considered, and a range of policy responses proposed, with a view to enhancing the choices available to both men and women for combining parenthood and employment.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations, Economics, Labor
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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