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Article
Publication date: 13 November 2017

Ernestine Ndzi

The legislation on shared parental leave that came into force on 1st of December 2014 is aimed at giving working mothers the opportunity to return to work early if they so…

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Abstract

Purpose

The legislation on shared parental leave that came into force on 1st of December 2014 is aimed at giving working mothers the opportunity to return to work early if they so choose after childbirth to continue with their career and also to give fathers the opportunity to be involved in the lives of their new-born. However, past research has demonstrated a very low uptake on shared parental leave. This paper aims to argue that working parents’ awareness on the existence of the legislation is key to its effectiveness.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative study approach was adopted to assess the importance of awareness. A sample of 40 eligible working parents were informally interviewed for 10 min to ascertain whether they know about shared parental leave. Participants were recruited at a primary school fair. The 40 parents were workers in different sectors which included care, hospitality, security, education, finance, retail and construction.

Findings

The findings indicated that awareness may be one key factor as to why the uptake of shared parental leave was low. It was also evident from the results that employers do not inform eligible employees of the existence of shared parental leave or support and encourage them to take shared parental leave. This paper concludes that to assess the effectiveness of shared parental leave, awareness is key.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this article are obtained from a limited time interview data. This paper is a basis for a bigger research project particularly on the reasons why mothers may or may not want to share their maternity leave.

Originality/value

Existing research has surveyed some employers and their employees and concluded uptake statistics based on their data. This study demonstrates that more awareness is required which has not been done yet. This research is part of an ongoing project investigating the reasons why mothers may or may not want to share their maternity leave, given that the legislation made mothers “gatekeepers” to the effectiveness of shared parental leave.

Details

International Journal of Law and Management, vol. 59 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-243X

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Article
Publication date: 18 September 2017

Nevena Zhelyazkova and Gilbert Ritschard

The purpose of this paper is to present an analysis of parental leave use and long-term employment trajectories of parents in Luxembourg based on anonymous administrative…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present an analysis of parental leave use and long-term employment trajectories of parents in Luxembourg based on anonymous administrative records. This is the first systematic analysis of parental leave take-up rates and return rates for Luxembourg using a large and reliable data set.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use highly detailed administrative data to calculate take-up and return rates for parental leave for both men and women working in Luxembourg. To gain deeper insights into the employment trajectories of parents, the authors deploy the visualisation tools of the TraMineR package, which allow the authors to trace developments over time.

Findings

The authors estimate take-up rates for parental leave at 72 per cent for mothers and 13 per cent for fathers. The return rates for mothers are 88.4, 99.4 and 70.8 per cent depending on whether they took full-time, part-time or no parental leave. In contrast, over 95 per cent of fathers remain employed following parental leave. The trajectory analysis reveals that the event of birth is a clear turning point for the majority of the female trajectories, but not for the male ones.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the literature in at least several ways. First, this is the first available paper presenting the situation in Luxembourg using a large and reliable data set. Second, by including fathers in the analysis, the authors contribute to the available knowledge of male use of parental leave, which has been the subject of continued policy efforts in the past decades. Finally, the authors show how parental leave can be analysed using sequence analysis tools and how this method offers additional, holistic insights into work-family patterns over time.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 36 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2010

Diane‐Gabrielle Tremblay and Emilie Genin

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…

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2357

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 30 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 10 January 2020

Brandy Snyder

The purpose of this paper is to synthesize findings on the effects of existing paid parental leave programs on infant mortality rates (IMR) in the USA as an attempt to aid…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to synthesize findings on the effects of existing paid parental leave programs on infant mortality rates (IMR) in the USA as an attempt to aid in efforts for the development of a national paid parental leave policy.

Design/methodology/approach

Three articles were reviewed to analyze findings on the effects of existing parental leave programs on IMR in the USA.

Findings

The results from the three studies analyzed indicate that unpaid parental leave and parental leave with partial wage replacement can reduce IMR in households with college educated, working mothers.

Research limitations/implications

This review is limited due to only having three studies available to synthesize that pertained to the USA. Implications for future research are to examine the effects of fully paid parental leave programs offered by individual organizations on IMR in the USA.

Social implications

Providing a needs-based income replacement policy to mothers who wish to take parental leave after the birth of a child may be the best policy to decrease IMR for infants from all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Originality/value

The findings in this review will aid in the ongoing efforts to develop a national paid parental leave policy in the USA.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 40 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 10 March 2020

Andrea Doucet and Lindsey McKay

This research article explores several questions about assessing the impacts of fathers' parental leave take up and gender equality. We ask: How does the conceptual and…

Abstract

Purpose

This research article explores several questions about assessing the impacts of fathers' parental leave take up and gender equality. We ask: How does the conceptual and contextual specificity of care and equality shape what we focus on, and how, when we study parental leave policies and their impacts? What and how are we measuring?

Design/methodology/approach

The article is based on a longitudinal qualitative research study on families with fathers who had taken parental leave in two Canadian provinces (Ontario and Québec), which included interviews with 26 couples in the first stage (25 mother/father couples and one father/father couple) and with nine couples a decade later. Guided by Margaret Somers' historical sociology of concept formation, we explore the concepts of care and equality (and their histories, networks, and narratives) and how they are taken up in parental leave research. We also draw on insights from three feminist scholars who have made major contributions to theoretical intersections between care, work, equality, social protection policies, and care deficits: Nancy Fraser, Joan Williams, and Martha Fineman.

Findings

The relationship between fathers' leave-taking and gender equality impacts is a complex, non-linear entanglement shaped by the specificities of state and employment policies and by how these structure parental eligibility for leave benefits, financial dimensions of leave-taking (including wage replacement rates for benefits), childcare possibilities/limitations and related financial dimensions for families, masculine work norms in workplaces, and intersections of gender and social class. Overall, we found that maximizing both parental leave time and family income in order to sustain good care for their children (through paid and unpaid leave time, followed by limited and expensive childcare services) was articulated as a more immediate concern to parents than were issues of gender equality. Our research supports the need to draw closer connections between parental leave, childcare, and workplace policies to better understand how these all shape parental leave decisions and practices and possible gender equality outcomes.

Research limitations/implications

The article is based on a small and fairly homogenous Canadian research sample and thus calls for more research to be done on diverse families, with attention to possible conceptual diversity arising from these sites.

Practical implications

This research calls for greater attention to: the genealogies of, and relations between, the concepts of care, equality, and subjectivity that guide parental leave research and policy; to the historical specificity of models like the Universal Caregiver model; and to the need for new models and conceptual configurations that can guide research on care, equality, and parental leave policies in current global contexts of neoliberal capitalism.

Originality/value

We call for a move toward thinking about care, not only as care time, but as responsibilities, which can be partly assessed through the stories people tell about how they negotiate and navigate care, domestic work, and paid work responsibilities in specific contexts and conditions across time. We also advocate for gender equality concepts that attend to how families navigate restrictive parental leave and childcare policies and how broader socio-economic inequalities arise partly from state policies underpinned by a concept of liberal autonomous subjects rather than relational subjects who face moments of vulnerability and inter-dependence across the life course.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 40 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 January 2020

Ann-Zofie Duvander and Ida Viklund

Parental leave in Sweden can be taken both as paid and unpaid leave and often parents mix these forms in a very flexible way. Therefore, multiple methodological issues…

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1232

Abstract

Purpose

Parental leave in Sweden can be taken both as paid and unpaid leave and often parents mix these forms in a very flexible way. Therefore, multiple methodological issues arise regarding how to most accurately measure leave length. The purpose of this paper is to review the somewhat complex legislation and the possible ways of using parental leave before presenting a successful attempt of a more precise way of measuring leave lengths, including paid and unpaid days, for mothers and fathers.

Design/methodology/approach

The study makes use of administrative data for a complete cohort of parents of first born children in 2009 in Sweden. The authors examine what characteristics are associated with the use of paid and unpaid leave for mothers and fathers during the first two years of the child’s life, focusing particularly on how individual and household income is associated with leave patterns.

Findings

Among mothers, low income is associated with many paid leave days whereas middle income is associated with most unpaid days. High income mothers use a shorter leave. Among fathers it is the both ends with high and low household income that uses most paid and unpaid leave.

Practical implications

A measure that includes unpaid parental leave will be important to not underestimate the parental leave and to prevent faulty comparisons between groups by gender and by socioeconomic status.

Originality/value

A measure of parental leave including both paid and unpaid leave will also facilitate international comparisons of leave length.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 40 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 2 July 2018

Vojtech Bartoš and Barbara Pertold-Gebicka

The purpose of this paper is to identify the role of employers in creating employment gaps among women returning to the labor market after parental leaves of different durations.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the role of employers in creating employment gaps among women returning to the labor market after parental leaves of different durations.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use a controlled correspondence field experiment that orthogonally manipulates parental leave length and the quality of fictitious female job candidates. The experiment is complemented with a survey among human resource managers.

Findings

High-quality candidates receive more interview invitations when applying after a short parental leave, while low-quality (LQ) candidates receive more interview invitations when applying after a typical three years long parental leave. Survey results suggest that the difference in invitations between short and typical leave treatments is driven by a social norm that mothers should stay home with children younger than three. Productivity gains from employing a LQ job applicant with a shorter career break might not be high enough to outweigh the adverse social norm effect.

Social implications

The presented results point toward the strong effect of prevailing social norms on job search prospects of women returning to the labor market after parental leave.

Originality/value

A correspondence experiment has not been used before to study the relationship between time spent on leave and the labor market prospects of mothers. It also extends research on social norms to the domain of hiring decisions.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 39 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2001

Esther M. Dermott

Considers the exclusionary processes arising from the way in which fathers are excluded from childcare activities. Outlines the parental leave provisions in the UK and…

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1795

Abstract

Considers the exclusionary processes arising from the way in which fathers are excluded from childcare activities. Outlines the parental leave provisions in the UK and explores the nature of the assumptions made about fatherhood. Compares the take up of parental leave by both men and women in other European countries. Concludes that whilst the current system supports a balanced work and home life but the significant gender differences in take‐up of parental leave between men and women means that legislation may be making gender division with respect to early childcare more marked rather than reduced.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 21 no. 4/5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Abstract

In this paper, we update and extend “Is There a Glass Ceiling in Sweden?” (Albrecht, Björklund, & Vroman, 2003) by documenting the extent to which the gender log wage gap across the distribution in Sweden has changed over the period 1998–2008. We then examine the Swedish glass ceiling in 2008 in more detail by documenting how it differs for white-collar versus blue-collar workers and for private- versus public-sector workers. We also examine when in the life cycle the glass ceiling effect arises and how this effect develops around the birth of the first child. Finally, we investigate the possible connection between the glass ceiling and the parental leave system in Sweden by linking wage data with data on parental leave from different Swedish registers.

Details

Gender Convergence in the Labor Market
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-456-6

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Article
Publication date: 5 August 2019

Sonia Bertolini and Valentina Goglio

The purpose of this paper is to analyse whether and to what extent the labour market situation of young Italians affects their chances of exiting the parental home…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse whether and to what extent the labour market situation of young Italians affects their chances of exiting the parental home, differentiating between leaving parental home with or without a partner. The paper also considers whether contextual factors, such as the occurrence of the economic crisis and family-related characteristics, might play a moderating role. The main focus is to understand if new modes of becoming adult are emerging in a country in which leaving home occurs relatively late and where family ties are at the same time a source of protection and a source of reproduction of inequalities.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses longitudinal data from European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions for the period 2007–2014 and applies Event History Analysis techniques for discrete time data. The analyses estimate the hazard rate of leaving the parental home for a sample of Italian individuals in the age range of 16–40 who, at the beginning of the observation period, were living with their parents.

Findings

The empirical analyses highlight a negative association between exclusion from the labour market and housing autonomy, robust and consistent across gender and across types of transition. On the contrary, a situation of objective job insecurity does not emerge as being associated to lower chances of housing autonomy, compared to individuals with job stability. Moreover, the educational background of the family of origin does not show any mediating role on the relative disadvantage of unemployed and inactive individuals, while the relative disadvantage of inactive individuals tends to further worsen in the period after the economic crisis (2010–2014).

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the study of transitions to housing autonomy by differentiating between two modes: in couple or alone. Moreover, by introducing information on the educational background of parents and the time effect, the paper aims to combine different traditions of research coming from the sociology of work, family and inequalities.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 39 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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