The state, courts, and maternity policies in U.S. organizations: Specifying institutional mechanisms

Doug Guthrie, Louise Marie Roth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

70 Scopus citations

Abstract

We analyze the dynamic interaction of state institutions and organizational policies through an analysis of leave benefits in U.S. organizations. Following the Pregnancy Leave Act of 1978 and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, organizations have been required by law to allow workers to take time off from work for childbearing and childrearing. Yet organizations vary on whether they offer full-time employees benefits that actually facilitate leave for family responsibilities. We analyze the determinants of the organizational decision to offer paid maternity leave to full-time employees. We compare these findings to the determinants of the organizational decision to offer paid sick leave to full-time employees. Our analysis suggests that organizations have taken an activist approach to their institutional environments: In the face of federal definitions of the law that mandated gender-neutral policies in the workplace and linked pregnancy to disability, those organizations that most often deal with maternity issues (e.g., those located in female-dominated industries) have institutionalized sick leave policies (often instead of maternity leave) to accommodate pregnant employees. The analysis examines specific aspects of the institutional environment at the state and federal levels to illuminate these trends.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-63
Number of pages23
JournalAmerican Sociological Review
Volume64
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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