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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…

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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Book part
Publication date: 1 June 2018

GuÐný Björk Eydal and Tine Rostgaard

The Nordic welfare model is known in the literature for its explicit support of the equal treatment of men and women in both family and gender equality policies as well as…

Abstract

The Nordic welfare model is known in the literature for its explicit support of the equal treatment of men and women in both family and gender equality policies as well as its achievements in these policy areas. Policy arguments have to promote gender equality and act in the best interest of the child, ensuring that the child access to care from both parents as well as to early childhood education and care. However, the knowledge of how the Nordic welfare states frame and promote active fatherhood remains fragmented.

The chapter asks whether the five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) have developed similar policies on fatherhood or have taken different paths. Hence, the chapter examines three main policy areas affecting fatherhood: family law, family cash benefits and paid parental leave. Comparative perspective is applied and the chapter asks how the policies frame and promote active fatherhood while also looking into how fatherhood is shaped in interaction between policies, cultures and the daily practices of fathers.

Results show that while all Nordic governments promote a dual-earner/dual-carer social democratic welfare state model emphasizing the active participation of fathers in the care of their children, variations exist in policy and practices. Care policies and entitlements to a father quota of paid parental leave are a defining factor for enhancing fathers’ role in care of their children and the findings show that Nordic fathers are making use of their quota and gradually increasing their share in taking leave for the care of young children.

Details

Fathers, Childcare and Work: Cultures, Practices and Policies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-042-6

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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…

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

Keywords

Content available
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…

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: 1 October 2019

Peter Moss and Fred Deven

The purpose of this paper is to review the development of leave policies in Europe, both at a regional and national level, and to consider what future directions such…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the development of leave policies in Europe, both at a regional and national level, and to consider what future directions such policies might take to meet changing conditions and emerging needs.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on the work of an international network that the authors founded in 2004, which brings together experts on leave policy from over 40 countries, and in particular on an annual review of national leave policies conducted by network members.

Findings

The article presents developments in European legislation on leave policy stretching from 1883 to the present day, and outlines the extent of leave policies in European countries and the wide variations in the design of these policies. It suggests that future directions in leave policy need to address the relationship between this and other policy areas; the need for a life course perspective to leave policy, getting beyond parental leave; and that leave should turn away from being considered an employment benefit towards becoming a universal right to care.

Originality/value

The paper provides a concise overview of leave policy in the global region where leave policies began and are today most developed, at both a regional and national level. It is also intended to stimulate debate about the future directions that leave policy might take.

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 March 2020

Ivana Dobrotić and Nada Stropnik

This article explores the patterns and dynamics of parenting-related leave policy reforms in the European former socialist countries (EFSCs). It sheds light on the…

Abstract

Purpose

This article explores the patterns and dynamics of parenting-related leave policy reforms in the European former socialist countries (EFSCs). It sheds light on the development pattern of their leave policies and their potential to reproduce, impede, or transform traditional gender norms in employment and care.

Design/methodology/approach

The article provides a historical comparative analysis of leave policy developments in 21 EFSCs in the 1970–2018 period. It systematically explores continuity and changes in leave policy design − generosity (leave duration and benefits level) and fathers' entitlements to leaves − as well as policy concerns and gender-equality-related implications.

Findings

Following the state-socialist commitment to gender equality, the EFSCs introduced childcare/parental leaves early. Nevertheless, they developed mother-centered leaves of equality-impeding character, in that they did not promote gender equality. The divergence of EFSCs' leave policies intensified in the period of transition from socialism to capitalism, as competing priorities and inter-related policy concerns – such as re-traditionalization, fertility incentives, gender equality, and labor market participation – influenced policy design. Leave policies of the EFSCs that joined the EU gradually transformed towards more gender-equal ones. Nonetheless, the progress has been slow, and only three countries can be classified as having equality-transforming leaves (Slovenia, Lithuania, and Romania).

Originality/value

This article extends existent comparative studies on maternity/paternity/parental leaves, exploring the region that has been overlooked by such research. It provides valuable insights into the implications of intersectional dimensions of leave design as well as competing priorities and concerns embedded in it. It points to the methodological complexity of evaluating the development of parental leave policies in a cross-country perspective.

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: 11 December 2019

Elin Kvande and Berit Brandth

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the Norwegian parental leave policy for fathers, the father’s quota, which has reached a mature age of 26 years, asking how gender…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the Norwegian parental leave policy for fathers, the father’s quota, which has reached a mature age of 26 years, asking how gender equality has been affected in working life.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on interviews with 28 fathers who have used the father’s quota, the paper analyzes the connection between leave design, its use and impacts by using the design elements of individualization, generosity and non-transferability.

Findings

Findings show that in granting fathers an individual, earmarked and non-transferable right, the welfare state has contributed to turning leave taking into a norm for modern fathering. The generosity in terms of length and full wage compensation strengthens it as a right in working life. Fathers being paid their full wages for staying at home taking care of their child emphasize the dual-carer norm. The analyses show that the collision between fatherhood and the ideal of the unencumbered employee has weakened in many types of organizations.

Originality/value

The paper addresses the request put forward by Lewis and Stumbitz (2017) and Moss and Deven (2015) where they state that there has been little research addressing how parental leave is implemented in working life.

Details

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

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Book part
Publication date: 1 June 2018

Gerlinde Mauerer

Realizing gender equality and parenthood still seems to be a contradictory endeavour. In consequence, family policies in Europe focus on paternal involvement and…

Abstract

Realizing gender equality and parenthood still seems to be a contradictory endeavour. In consequence, family policies in Europe focus on paternal involvement and increasing women’s participation in the labour market. Nevertheless, consequences of gender pay gap on family arrangements still set limits to these policies.

This chapter reveals results of qualitative research on paternal leave practices and fathers’ involvement in the family in Austria. The empirical data set includes 36 guided interviews with fathers on paternal leave, 12 with female partners, 16 with human resources managers and 14 follow-up questionings with part-time working men and women. The research investigates effects of long-term leave arrangements on the distribution of family work, gainful employment and individual interests.

Mainly best practice models in undoing gender in family and work arrangements are explored. Subsequently, a high proportion of good earning fathers and couples with tertiary education are represented in the sample. Nevertheless, quantitative studies in Austria confirm higher proportions of fathers aged 40 plus on paternal leave. They take this decision mainly as a ‘tribute to the family’, once or twice in a life-time.

However, long-term care data on work-family-life balancing currently do not show significant changes in gendered patterns. By contrast, gender disparities are still reproduced in the labour market. Theoretically, the chapter shows the impact of gender studies, feminist theories and sociology of the family on realizing gender equality in private and public spheres. It outlines recommendations for family policy makers and for readers interested in relations between realizing work–life balance and gender budgeting.

Details

Fathers, Childcare and Work: Cultures, Practices and Policies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-042-6

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Article
Publication date: 31 August 2012

Jan Windebank

The purpose of this paper is to analyse work‐family reconciliation policy during the Sarkozy presidency in France, assessing the extent to which Sarkozy's injunction on…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse work‐family reconciliation policy during the Sarkozy presidency in France, assessing the extent to which Sarkozy's injunction on the French to “work more to earn more” has provided a new frame for policy in this area.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper analyses the policy debates and initiatives concerning work‐family reconciliation in France since 2007 and seeks to identify the frames of reference concerning the problems of and solutions to combining paid work and parenthood which have structured this policy process.

Findings

The change in employment policy away from work‐sharing and towards activation of previously economically‐inactive groups has influenced work‐family reconciliation policy in that both incentive measures (creation of more collective and subsidised childcare places) and coercive measures (reduction of the length of parental leave benefits) have been put in place or debated in order to increase the number of mothers of young children in the labour market. Feminist discourse has been used to justify proposals for the reduction in length of paid parental leaves representing an example of “triangulation” in which right‐wing governments invoke left‐wing ideology to defend policy.

Research limitations/implications

The present analysis emphasises the importance of incorporating the influence of the frames of reference which inform employment and poverty‐reduction policy into explaining approaches to work‐family reconciliation policy in France.

Originality/value

This article represents the first examination of work‐family reconciliation policy in France under President Sarkozy and emphasises the importance of incorporating employment‐related frames of reference in explaining work‐family reconciliation policy in the country.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 32 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 25 February 2008

Terry O'Brien and Helen Hayden

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview and analysis of current legislation and various schemes and practices that are available to employers and employees in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview and analysis of current legislation and various schemes and practices that are available to employers and employees in relation to work life balance, family friendly work arrangements, leave entitlements and diverse modes of flexible work in Ireland. Focuses in particular on the Library and Information sector.

Design/methodology/approach

Introduces the concept of flexible working, followed by a review of relevant literature. Outlines what flexible work practices are, giving details of various types of flexible working, both statutory and non‐statutory (in Ireland). Then, discusses why flexible work practices have emerged and details background legislation and the issues that the introduction of flexible working raises. Draws conclusions about best practice in relation to the management of flexible work practices.

Findings

It is argued that commitment to work life balance is now firmly in the mainstream and is part of the political agenda in Ireland and the rest of the developed world. Flexibility in work practice is becoming an integral part of employment, particularly in public sector organisations, which are in effect, leading the way on this issue. Flexible work practices have many advantages for both employees and employers. They also create challenges, especially in terms of management. It is important to balance the requirements of the organisation with those of the employees. Key factors in the successful implementation of flexible working are training and communication.

Originality/value

The article provides a firm basis for further investigation and discussion.

Details

Library Management, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-5124

Keywords

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