UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The organizational implications of employment behavior following maternity leave Altman, Arliss Marilyn


Although participation of Canadian women in the labour force has significantly increased in the past decade, and in turn the number of maternity leave claims, information is limited on actual employment behavior following maternity leave and the factors which influence this behavior. The purpose of this study was to examine the employment behavior following maternity leave for 313 women of varying occupations from a large metropolitan hospital in order to: isolate significant variables which influence this behavior, examine return rates and employment patterns for women who return to work, identify the major problems women experience upon their return to work, examine the experience of women with the current maternity leave legislation, obtain their opinions on whether flexible work policies encourage staff retention and finally, to develop a set of recommendations to assist organizations in achieving staff retention following maternity leave. Data respecting the positions of the women, their personal characteristics and their employment behavior following their leave were collected from personnel records. The dependent variables for the study were three distinct types of employment behavior: employees who terminated following their maternity leave, employees who terminated following their return to work and employees who remained employed at the hospital. There were nine independent variables which were tested as potential employment behavior influences namely level of education, age, organizational tenure, employment status, union/management affiliation, salary level, occupational level, number of previous maternity leaves and organizational division. The Chi Square test of Independence was run for six variables and the One Way Analysis of Variance for three variables. In-depth structured interviews were conducted with five women selected randomly from the sample in order to identify the major problems they encountered in returning to work as well as to obtain their opinions on the current maternity leave legislation. They were also questioned regarding the effectiveness of flexible work policies. Two of the variables tested were found to be significant employment behavior influences: type of union and organizational tenure. It was also found that the least flexible union had the highest termination rate. Although the majority of women returned to work and remained employed at the hospital, a high percentage transferred to part-time and casual employment. The interviews revealed that the major concerns women had were the need for more flexible work policies, an increase in part-time opportunities and child-care concerns including the need for on-site day care. All of the women interviewed felt that 18 weeks was an inadequate length of time for a maternity leave and some of the women wanted maternity benefits for their entire leave and not just 15 weeks. It was concluded from the results of the study that flexible work policies and organizational support systems encourage staff retention following maternity leave, it was recommended that in order for organizations to achieve staff retention following maternity leave that they must introduce flexible work policies and a specific staff retention plan.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.