Poster Topical Area: Maternal, Perinatal and Pediatric Nutrition
Location: Hall D
Poster Board Number: 401
Objectives: Breastfeeding is in need of strong support in Mexico where maternity leave is only available for women working in the formal sector (12 fully paid weeks). However, among economically active women, more than half work in the informal sector. The present research aims to estimate the costs associated with an introduction of a maternity leave cash-transfer for working women in the informal sector, an essential step for supporting breastfeeding in Mexico.
Methods: The cost estimation is based on: (a) size of the cash-transfer; (b) maternity leave duration; (c) probability of a woman working in the informal sector of having a baby considering her age, education level and region; (d) actual population of women between 18 and 49 y working in the informal sector; and (e) administrative costs of establishing the program. Estimations were computed using the National Survey of Demographic Dynamics, National Occupation and Employment Survey and administrative data. The cash-transfer was operationalized in three ways: 2/3 of the minimum wage, 2/3 of the food and non-food basket and the complete food and non-food basket. Estimations were performed for 12 weeks of maternity leave (the equivalent of formal workers' maternity leave), 14 weeks (ILO's recommendation), 16 weeks (what is being discussed by stakeholders in Mexico) and 26 weeks (exclusive breastfeeding period recommended by WHO).
Results: Establishing the cash-transfer for informal workers' maternity leave during 12 weeks ranges between $73–$130 million dollars per year and each additional week costs from $6–$10 million dollars (depending on the size of the cash-transfer and including administrative costs of $892,000 dollars). Hence at 14 weeks, 16 weeks and 26 weeks the costs are $85–$151, $97–$173 and $158–$280 million dollars, respectively. Per capita monthly cash-transfers would range between $78–$157
Conclusions: Supporting maternity leave among informal workers is an important step to protect breastfeeding, as their economic pressures and lack of income security don't allow mothers to reduce their workload after childbirth. The additional cash-transfer needed is affordable for Mexico's social protection system.
Professor of Health Policy and Public Health
Universidad Iberoamericana, EQUIDE
Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico