Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine whether the social divisions in maternal employment patterns post‐childbirth, recorded by earlier studies have persisted for a later cohort of mothers that had a pregnancy in the early 2000s, in the context of an expansion of childcare and other improvements in reconciliation measures. Design/methodology/approach – Longitudinal data from the UK's Millennium Cohort Study are analysed using logistic regression. Findings – It was found that mothers are more likely to be employed, and employed full‐time, when their child is aged three if they were employed during the pregnancy and resumed employment within nine months of the birth. The mothers' occupational class, ethnicity, household composition and the working hours of a partner also have independent associations with the probability of maternal employment once the child is aged three. Research limitations/implications – The authors would expect these results to be modified – but not overturned – in a different national setting, for example where childcare services are more extensive or part‐time employment is less common. Originality/value – These new longitudinal survey results for a recent cohort of mothers in the UK demonstrate that resumption of employment following maternity leave is pivotal for women's subsequent employment integration. Yet maternal employment trajectories remain shaped by social inequalities. Both results are important for informing debates about reconciliation policy for the pre‐school years, including monitoring the impact of the recession on the employment integration of women following childbirth.
International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 31, 2012
Keywords: United Kingdom; Women; Employment; Maternity leave; Women's employment; Mothers; Employment transitions; Childcare; Part‐time employment
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