Women at the Crossroads: Leaving Paid Work Around Pregnancy and Birth of First Child in Spain

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
TW1.2.04 (Tower One)
Daniel Guinea-Martin, Dept. Sociology I, UNED, Madrid, Spain
Irene Lapuerta, Universidad Pública de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
In terms of women's employment rates the literature usually describes Spain as an "early peak" country:  the percentage of young women in paid work is  relatively high, but after family formation women's employment rate drops off.    

Our goal is to (i) update  this picture with recent longitudinal data and (ii) narrow the attention down to different phases around women's pregnancy and birth of their first child.   In particular, we identify the first and second part of the pregnancy and the post-delivery period during which the mother's employment is protected by law.

We analyze data  drawn from the "Muestra Continua de Vidas Laborales,"  a unique data set that links the individuals’ employment history with  administrative and income tax data.  The subsample includes 7,750 women between 25 and 45 years of age who were in paid employment 10 months prior to giving birth to their first child some time in the  period between  2005 and 2012.  Hence, the observation window comprises 10 months before delivery and a maximum of 85 months afterwards.  We test logit-based event history models.

Our preliminary results show that the likelihood of exiting is higher in the second stage of the pregnancy (months 5 to 9) than either in the first part of the pregnancy or in the period after confinement during which women's employment is protected by law.   Moreover, in the second stage of pregnancy the risk of exiting the labour market comes closer among women with various levels of educational attainment.  However, when the protection period expires women's exit rate from paid work increases drastically.  This finding suggests that the existing anti-discriminatory policies to protect the employment of pregnant women  are limited in scope.  Overall, the advent of the economic crisis does not modify these patterns.