The Labor Market Effects of Pregnancy Accommodation Laws

39 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2023

See all articles by Emily Battaglia

Emily Battaglia

University of Delaware - Economics

Jessica H. Brown

University of South Carolina

Date Written: December 19, 2023


We estimate the effect of pregnancy accommodation laws on labor market outcomes for women of childbearing age. Such laws require "reasonable accommodations" for pregnant workers, like sitting down, lifting restrictions, and additional bathroom breaks. As a mandated benefit, these laws could impact employer hiring decisions. Using a triple differences design comparing women's and men's labor market outcomes throughout the staggered roll-out of thirteen pregnancy accommodation laws from 2013 to 2016, we find no overall impact on female employment and wages. We do find that women are more likely to choose occupations where physical abilities are important, suggesting increased accessibility of these occupations. But for subgroups more likely to be impacted - those with less education, in more physically-intense occupations, and married without children - we estimate modest declines in earnings and employment. That the burden falls on both suggests these women value the benefit but at less than it costs to provide.

Keywords: pregnancy accommodations, mandated benefits

JEL Classification: K31, J32, I18

Suggested Citation

Battaglia, Emily and Brown, Jessica, The Labor Market Effects of Pregnancy Accommodation Laws (December 19, 2023). Available at SSRN: or

Emily Battaglia

University of Delaware - Economics ( email )

Newark, DE 19716
United States

Jessica Brown (Contact Author)

University of South Carolina ( email )

Darla Moore School of Business
1014 Greene Street
Columbia, SC 29208
United States


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