The purpose of this paper is to revisit the question whether women’s employment is negatively affected in countries with very long periods of childcare leave.
The authors analyzed data on 192,484 individual women, 305 country-years, and 18-countries, combined with country-level data on childcare, unemployment and service sector size.
The authors found that in countries with short periods of childcare leave the motherhood-employment gap is smaller than in countries with no childcare leave, while in countries with long periods of childcare leave the motherhood-employment gap is bigger than with short periods of leave.
The authors argued that to correctly answer the long-leave question – the relationship between duration of leave and employment of women should be explicitly hypothesized as being curvilinear; and childcare leave should be expected to affect only mothers, not women without children; testing the long-leave hypothesis requires the use of country-comparative data in which countries are observed repeatedly over time; and is best tested against person-level data.
Nieuwenhuis, R., Need, A. and Van der Kolk, H. (2017), "Is there such a thing as too long childcare leave?", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 37 No. 1/2, pp. 2-15. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-07-2015-0074
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