This is the first of two briefs 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. Seventy-five mothers who used PFL participated in the study. Over two-thirds returned to work, citing their need for income, desire for financial independence, preference for combining work with caregiving, and supportive workplace practices. Mothers who left work said they did so because of child care costs, the desire to remain home full time, their babies’ health concerns, being fired or laid off, and a lack of workplace supports.
Other ASPE products on paid family leave can be found on our Paid Family Leave page.