American Journal of Public Health (AJPH)
Jennifer A. Hutcheon PhD, Teresa Janevic PhD, and Katherine A. Ahrens PhD
Objectives. To determine if the introduction of New York State’s 8-week paid family leave policy on January 1, 2018, reduced rates of hospitalizations with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis or any acute lower respiratory tract infection among young infants.
Methods. The authors conducted an interrupted time series analysis using New York State population-based, all-payer hospital discharge records, October 2015 to December 2019. They estimated the change in monthly hospitalization rates for RSV bronchiolitis and for any acute lower respiratory tract infection among infants aged 8 weeks or younger after the introduction of paid family leave while controlling for temporal trends and RSV seasonality. They modeled RSV hospitalization rates in infants aged 1 year as a control.
Results. Hospitalization rates for RSV bronchiolitis and any acute lower respiratory tract infection decreased by 30% after the introduction of paid family leave (rate ratio [RR] = 0.71; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.54, 0.94; and RR = 0.72; 95% CI = 0.59, 0.88, respectively). There were no such reductions in infants aged 1 year (RR = 0.98; 95% CI = 0.72, 1.33; and RR = 1.17; 95% CI = 1.03, 1.32, respectively).
Conclusions. State paid family leave was associated with fewer RSV-associated hospitalizations in young infants.