Social safety nets and new venture performance: The role of employee access to paid family leave benefits Academic Article uri icon


  • AbstractResearch SummaryThis study examines how social safety nets providing paid family leave (PFL) benefits to employees influence subsequent business performance for entrepreneurial ventures. A multilevel framework guided by qualitative interviews proposes two competing mechanisms (prehiring recruitment gains via prospective employees and posthiring operation losses via incumbent employees) and a firmlevel contingency (venture innovation type). Leveraging the 2009implemented New Jersey PFL program in a differenceindifferences design, I show that employee access to stateprovided PFL benefits adversely affects the profitability for noninnovative new ventures but increases profitability for innovative ventures. Exploration of treatment timing and intermediate venture outcomes supports a dominating prehiring mechanism for innovative ventures (in which the ventures become more attractive to joiners) but a dominating posthiring mechanism for noninnovative ventures (due to employee leave).Managerial SummaryWhat are the business implications of employee access to paid family leave (PFL) benefits for nascent firms? Leveraging evidence from a U.S. state PFL program, the study shows that employee access to state PFL benefits hurts the profitability of noninnovative ventures but increases the profitability of innovative ventures. Results suggest that while noninnovative ventures experience operation losses as incumbent employees increase family leave use or quit their jobs, innovative ventures reap recruitment gains by attracting more and better prospective employees. For founders and managers, the provision of employee benefits is more central to firms' ability to create superior human capital pools than often thought and should be aligned with organizational incentive design and HR systems to prepare for productivity shocks related to employee leave use.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Bao, J.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Bao, Jiayi

publication date

  • December 2022