Paid Parental Leave is modeled in Los Angeles, CA and the United States

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki tells CBS "Sunday Morning" why California business owners are learning that paid maternity leave isn't just good for mothers and babies, it's good for business, too.

Paid parental leave helps new mothers and fathers bond with their children following the birth or adoption of a child. Paid parental leave has benefits for the child, the parents, women in the workplace and the employers that offer the benefit.  

Some form of paid parental leave has been adopted in three states and in a few cities across the U.S., but a nationwide law does not currently exist. 

California requires employers to cover between 60 - 70% of wages for six weeks to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a newborn baby, newly adopted child, or new foster child.

The San Francisco ordinance builds upon the California law by mandating 100% of wages are covered for the six weeks. It also mandates businesses with 20 or more workers participate, although the smaller businesses are phased in gradually. More information about the ordinance is available here.

The evidence for the effectiveness of this program comes from implementations in other countries. Since the benefits offered there are typically more generous, our version of the model assumes 20 weeks of coverage. We offer coverage to men and women (with different take-up rates) but only estimate benefits to women and their newborns based on what we found in the literature.

We have two scenarios of compensation: 100% compensation and 66.67% compensation. Each scenario has varying take-up rates and duration of leave taken based on information in the literature. However we were unable to truly differentiate the effectiveness of the program in generating benefits to mothers and their newborns.

Our model of a paid parental leave program assumes 20 weeks of leave from a job. We offer coverage to men and women (with different take-up rates) but only estimate benefits to women and their newborns based on what we found in the literature.

We have modeled two scenarios of compensation: 100% compensation and 66.67% compensation during the 20 weeks of leave. 

Contributions would be collected from employee paychecks and the percent would be based on individual, rather than household, income. More information about implementation of this program in San Francisco and New York is available here.

To estimate the impact of a program or policy, we use systematic literature reviews to determine causal pathways and effect sizes. Well-researched interventions that have robust, high-quality evaluations allow us to model the impact of an intervention with greater certainty. However, sometimes interventions have limited evidence and not all of the outcomes that are likely to be associated with the intervention have been studied. In those cases, we can only model what is available in the evidence base. We urge future research to take the following gaps into consideration.

Benefits of Leave for Fathers - Preliminary research suggests there is good reason to offer benefits to fathers as well as mothers, however we did not find enough evidence to feel confident in estimating these benefits in our model. However, we still do include some fathers as receiving the contributions.

Downstream Benefits of Leave for Children - The only benefit measured for children beyond early childhood is high school dropout, however there is reason to believe there are other benefits, such as increased employment, reduced crime, and reduced utilization of public assistance.

Duration of Leave Offered - We did not find enough evidence to build a second model that would allow us to examine different benefits for different durations of leave offered.