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Type of Work4 pages
Citation of Original PublicationWyatt-Nichol, H. (2010). Maternity Leave. In Encyclopedia of Motherhood (Vol. 2, pp 729-730). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
women in the workplace
pregnancy and childbirth
Maternity leave is a leave of absence from one's employer to meet the physical and emotional demands experienced by women during the last stages of pregnancy and in their new role as mothers. Maternity leave promotes equality in the work-place by providing women job protection when they become pregnant and give birth. The absence of job protection during pregnancy and childbirth places women at a disadvantage in the labor market historically evident in the United States prior to legislative mandates, as women were often forced to give up their jobs.