A 12 Country Examination of the Relationship Between Family Leave Policies and Infant Mortality, Maternal Mental Health, and Organizational Outcomes

  • David Wernick
  • Isabella Gettier University of Mary Washington


This article examines the potential relationship between family leave time and monetary compensation for maternity leave across 12 developed countries, and the subsequent outcomes such as rates of infant mortality, data on postpartum depression, and organizational financial impacts as a result of these policies and consequences. At the time of this writing, during a global pandemic, the United States stands alone among the 12 as the only industrialized country with no national paid family leave policy, and as such presents an interesting case study when compared to other countries. The article compares the US Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provisions to maternity leave policies in 11 other countries and examines the data for the outcomes listed above. Furthermore, the article delves into the potential impact financial and job stress has on postpartum depression rates. Finally, it discusses how paid family medical leave can produce large organizational gains in several different financial measures.