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HR Policies and Maternal Labor Supply

The Example of Employer-Supported Childcare


Susanne Schneider

The author asks how far the extension of employer-supported childcare serves as a driver for higher maternal labor supply. She addresses this question by categorizing employer-supported childcare as an efficiency wage introduced by the employer to increase the working volume of mothers. Applying various impact evaluation techniques in an econometric analysis, the author concludes that the availability of employer-supported childcare has a positive impact on the length and working volume of mothers who return back to work after giving birth. Furthermore, the usage of employer-supported childcare by mothers with pre-school age children influences the amount of agreed and actual working hours positively.

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1. Introduction


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1.  Introduction

1.1  Background

The female and especially the maternal labor supply is substantially lower than the male one. This is an observation independent from the kind of measurement, which could be exemplarily the labor force participation (LFP) rates, the working volume, or the participation rate over the life cycle (BMFSFJ, 2014). The different results between the two sexes stem from work interruptions and reductions due to child rearing. Twice as many mothers of pre-school aged children would however prefer to increase their paid working volume instead of decreasing it (Lauber, Storck, Spieß, & Fuchs, 2014). The divergence between the actual and preferred employment rates and the often marginal employment modes of mothers have important implications for various actors.

Concerning the mother, postponing a return to employment after childbirth, or working in marginal employment, impedes future career advancements substantially. This employment mode is often marked by limited sovereignty, as demand oriented contracts or unexpected working times dictate the working rhythm. In addition, reduced income does not only restrict current expenditures, but also results in lower levels of pension entitlements (Huesmann & Gärtner, 2015). The national government introduced even a special pension policy considering child raising years in pension calculations of mothers to prevent old-age poverty (Haan & Thiemann, 2015). Next to the monetary dimension, mothers develop a lower level of life satisfaction, if they are forced to work less than their preferred time (Berger, 2013).

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