Are There Gendering Effects of a Gender Neutral Parental Leave Policy?

Helen Eriksson, Stockholm University

Although Sweden has had a gender-neutral parental leave in place since 1974, the division of leave is still heavily skewed towards women. We investigate whether the existing policy, in which the pay follows labor market income, matters for partners’ division of leave. By using a specific part of the parental leave, the Care for Sick Children benefit, the couples’ decision-making process can be studied explicitly in that the eligibility regulations are taken into account. We use individual-level register data for 2005-2006. The results show that the partner with higher income claims, regardless of gender, the smallest part of the leave. Moreover, the division of leave is unaffected by a reform giving substantial economic incentives to a more equal division. The division could thus be seen as the result of a process governed by absolute and relative earnings or other factors that follow income, but only to lesser degree by gender.

  See paper

Presented in Session 35: Family Leave Policies