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Balancing work and family life : a study of mothers in the UK

The large increase in female labour force attachment observed in the UK over the last 30 years has largely been driven by mothers of pre-school aged children. The aim of this thesis is to examine the determinants and outcomes of mothers' work life balance decisions throughout the early maternal years. This thesis is made up of three empirical studies. Maternity leave policies relax constraints on mothers' work life balance decisions by allowing attachment to the same job around childbirth. Thus, the first empirical study in this thesis examines the impact of taking maternity leave on the probability of employment throughout the early years of the child's life. The implications of part time employment (the most common outcome of the work life balance decision for mothers in the UK) are analysed in the subsequent two studies. The analysis in the second empirical study investigates the wage penalty associated with mothers' transition from full to part time employment. The third empirical study examines the well being implications of part time employment. The results indicate that increasing access to maternity leave policy is consistent with greater motherhood employment. There is a tendency for groups of mothers to re-enter employment via part time work after childbirth. However, any movement from full time to part time employment which occurs over a career break is consistent with a large pay penalty; the motherhood pay penalty can be explained by such behaviour. The results find little evidence of any positive well being implications associated with part time employment. The conclusions of the analyses conducted in this thesis provide implications for the efficient usage of labour, for gender equality in labour market opportunities and outcomes, and for motherhood well being. The conclusions additionally provide insight into the extent that institutional factors constrain mothers' work life balance decisions.
Date January 2010
CreatorsWillson, Jenny
PublisherUniversity of Sheffield
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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