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Leave policies and social inequality in Brazil

Bila Sorj (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Alexandre Fraga (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 6 January 2020

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between leave policies and social inequalities. It seeks to analyze the historical course of maternity and paternity leave legislation in Brazil, and also provides quantitative evidence that access to leave is impacted by social stratification, revealing different inequalities.

Design/methodology/approach

To investigate access to leave policies, this study uses data from the Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios Contínua Anual de 2017 (Annual National Continuous Household Sampling Survey of 2017), conducted by IBGE/Brazil.

Findings

The results point out the existence of inequalities in the conceptions of leave policies in Brazil, and lead to quantitative confirmation that access to leave is stratified and permeated by inequalities of gender, class, race and age.

Social implications

By pointing out the social inequalities resulting from the contributory scheme of maternity and paternity leave, the results of this paper may generate debate on the transformation of leave into a universal right of citizens and impact public policy agenda in the future.

Originality/value

This is the first Brazilian study to analyze the relationship between leave policy and social inequality through quantitative data, showing the existence of social stratification of gender, class, race and age concerning the employed population’s access to maternity and paternity leave.

Keywords

Citation

Sorj, B. and Fraga, A. (2020), "Leave policies and social inequality in Brazil", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 40 No. 5/6, pp. 515-526. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-07-2019-0141

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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