Parental leave: Comparing children's hospitals with Fortune 500 companies

Anita H. Weiss*, Elisa J. Gordon, Mary E. O'Connor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives: To identify parental leave policies and avail ability of support systems for new parents employed by children's hospitals and compare these benefits with those offered by Fortune 500 companies. Telephone or facsimile survey of all (n = 118) children's hospitals and pediatric medical centers in the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions 1995 Directory of Members, and 118 geographically matched Fortune 500 companies. Policies for maternity and paternity leave, adoption benefits, and sup port services for new parents were compared. Results: Ninety-four children's hospitals (80%) and 82 Fortune 500 companies (69%) responded to the survey. No difference in duration of maternity (P>.30) or paternity (P =.12) leave was found. Sixty-two companies (77%) classified maternity leave as short-term disability while 47 hospitals (50%) classified it as sick time (P<.005). Classifying maternity leave as short-term disability generally gives better benefits to employees with short duration of service, whereas classifying maternity leave as sick time usually favors employees with longer employment. Companies provided more financial support for adoption expenses (P<.05), but there was no difference in duration of paid or unpaid leave for adoption (P =. 14). Hospitals provided more on-site day care (69% vs 42%; P<.001) and better support systems for breastfeeding mothers (49% vs 24%; P<.002). Conclusions: Children's hospitals do not offer better parental leave benefits than Fortune 500 companies; however, they offer better support systems for parents returning to work after the birth of a child.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)629-633
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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