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Supporting Employment among Lower-Income Mothers: Paid Family Leave and Child Care Arrangements

Publication Date

This is the third ASPE brief about a qualitative study examining lower-income mothers’ attachment to work around the time of childbirth and the role of state paid family leave (PFL) programs in supporting their return to employment. This brief focuses on the role of PFL in facilitating child care arrangements of a sample of mothers. Highlights are:

  • Child care arrangements included (1) informal care by family, friends, or acquaintances; (2) professional care; (3) coordination of work schedules with family; or (4) leaving the workforce.
  • PFL assisted mothers in making care arrangements by providing time to find care and address logistics and to let babies acclimate to care, and by providing funds.
  • PFL was not central to all mothers’ child care arrangements; it was less important for those who arranged care prior to childbirth or who left the workforce voluntarily.
  • While PFL eased some difficulties mothers faced, tensions around child care accessibility, cost, and quality remained for many, beyond the scope of PFL to address.

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