This paper uses labour force survey data to examine the employment rates and employment decisions of women with young children in the United States, Britain and Japan. Our results confirm that young children have a very strong negative effect on women's employment; this effect is most pronounced in Britain. We then take advantage of panel data to investigate the effects of family leave coverage on women's job retention after childbirth. We find that family leave coverage increases the likelihood that a woman will return to her employer after childbirth in all three countries, with a particularly marked effect in Japan. This result suggests that the recent expansions in family leave coverage in the sample countries are likely to lead to increased employment of women after childbirth.
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