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Parental leave: from perception to first‐hand experience

Diane‐Gabrielle Tremblay (Téluq‐UQAM, Montreal, Canada)
Emilie Genin (École de relations industrielles, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 7 September 2010



Paid parental leave for both mothers and fathers has fed countless debates. Four years after the implementation of a new parental leave policy in Quebec, this paper aims to assess how parental leave is perceived in the workplace.


Using data from employee surveys carried out in a municipal police service, the paper employs analysis of variance techniques to compare the perception of parental leave within two groups of respondents: those who had gone on parental leave and those who had not.


The findings highlight significant differences between the perceptions of parental leave entertained by the respondents who have taken it up and those who have not yet experienced parental leave.

Social implications

Analysing these differences has produced extremely interesting findings: adopting a public policy is not sufficient; organisations need to make employees feel supported in taking parental leave if they really want the policy to achieve the targeted results.


Paid parental leave is relatively new in Europe and almost non‐existent in North America and few studies have been carried out to measure their perception in the workplace. This research shows how important it is to follow the use of the policy to make sure that it does not have negative impacts for those who use it.



Tremblay, D. and Genin, E. (2010), "Parental leave: from perception to first‐hand experience", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 30 No. 9/10, pp. 532-544.



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