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How long is a parental leave and for whom? An analysis of methodological and policy dimensions of leave length and division in Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
Number of Authors: 22019 (English)In: International journal of sociology and social policy, ISSN 0144-333X, E-ISSN 1758-6720Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

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 end swith 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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Sweden, Gender equality, Household income, Parental leave, Division of leave
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-178681DOI: 10.1108/IJSSP-06-2019-0108ISI: 000506084900001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-178681DiVA, id: diva2:1393445
Available from: 2020-02-17 Created: 2020-02-17 Last updated: 2020-02-19

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