Long leaves and part-time work protections might encourage women to scale back at work or stretch their leaves longer than they otherwise would have, according to the Cornell economists, Francine D. Blau and Lawrence M. Kahn, whose study was published last year in the American Economic Review. Employers, meanwhile, might “engage in statistical discrimination against women as a group, anticipating that women will take advantage of such opportunities,” they wrote. Long absences are expensive for companies, particularly for jobs that build on training and promotions, and employers are understandably hesitant to hire people who might leave for a year at a time.
“It gives them good reason to think twice about hiring someone who might take the leave,” said Claudia Goldin, an economist at Harvard University who studies women and work. “No one is saying they dislike women who are capable of having children. But they might dislike additional labor costs.”
Claire Cain Miller, “Can Family Leave Hurt Women’s Careers?”, The New York Times (10 August 2014), SR3