Journal article

The benefits of paid maternity leave for mothers' post-partum health and wellbeing: Evidence from an Australian evaluation

Belinda Hewitt, Lyndall Strazdins, Bill Martin



This paper investigates the health effects of the introduction of a near universal paid parental leave (PPL) scheme in Australia, representing a natural social policy experiment. Along with gender equity and workforce engagement, a goal of the scheme (18 weeks leave at the minimum wage rate) was to enhance the health and wellbeing of mothers and babies. Although there is evidence that leave, especially paid leave, can benefit mothers' health post-partum, the potential health benefits of implementing a nationwide scheme have rarely been investigated. The data come from two cross-sectional surveys of mothers (matched on their eligibility for paid parental leave), 2347 mother's surveyed pre-PPL..

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Awarded by Australian Government Department of Social Services

Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

This paper uses data from the Paid Parental Leave evaluation. The evaluation project was initiated and funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services (P10014) and was managed by the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR), The University of Queensland. The findings and views reported in this paper, however, are those of the authors and should not be attributed to either DSS or ISSR. This research was supported by funding from the Australian Research Council to Hewitt, Martin and Strazdins (LP130100148), Strazdins (FT110100686) and Hewitt (FT140100861). During the completion of this paper and project Professor William (Bill) Martin unexpectedly passed away, we acknowledge his contributions and value his legacy.