Paid Leave, Welfare, and Material Hardship After a Birth. By: Ybarra, Marci; Stanczyk, Alexandra; Ha, Yoonsook. Family Relations. Feb2019, Vol. 68 Issue 1, p85-103

Past research has examined the relationship between public assistance and paid leave after a birth, finding reductions in program enrollment. This research has not accounted for variation in program benefits across states and has largely overlooked implications for family well‐being. Method: We use a sample (N = 1,174) of low‐income single women who gave birth between 1997 and 2001 from the Survey of Income and Public Program Participation and include measures of TANF generosity across states and over time that were constructed from the Welfare Rules database. A series of multivariate probit regression models are used to estimate the relationship between TANF generosity, paid leave availability, welfare participation, and material hardship while controlling for relevant individual and state‐level characteristics. Results: Paid leave was associated with less TANF participation, but these reduction are related to the program’s generosity. Paid leave, states’ welfare work exemptions for mothers of infants, and TANF earnings eligibility limits were associated with a lower likelihood of experiencing some forms of material hardship. Conclusion: Some forms of paid leave and TANF program generosity are related to reductions in TANF participation and material hardship after a birth for low‐income single women. Implications: This study demonstrates that researchers should account for variation in TANF programs when considering changes in program enrollment associated with paid leave. Results suggest paid leave may help alleviate some forms of economic stress after a birth, which has implications for maternal, infant, and family well‐being.