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Since the beginning of the pandemic, American women, particularly working mothers, have been the disproportionate victims of the jobs lost in the United States economy. Conversely, a “fatherhood premium” has been seen since the start of the pandemic, and American fathers have been the most protected demographic from job loss. The trend toward job loss of female employees has been exacerbated by the pandemic but is largely consistent with existing trends. Before the pandemic, some fields such as STEM had been losing nearly half of their female employees after the birth of their first child. Related to these discrepancies is the fact that the United States is unique in the fact that it has very limited federally outlined maternal protections. While New York State has the strongest legal guidelines for new mothers, the state’s paid family leave policy still lacks many of the rights granted in other countries. New York State’s policy, despite being the strongest in the United States, does not meet the minimum recommendations for maternity leave policy by either the World Health Organization or the International Labor Organization. This qualitative study examines and compares the self-reported maternity leave experiences of working mothers in New York State before and after the beginning of the pandemic and the state’s transition into its new paid family leave policy.



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How the Transition to Working Remotely May Impact Maternity Leave Policy; Lessons from the Pandemic