Paternity and parental leave policies across the European Union

Paternity and parental leave policies across the European Union. RAND Corporation. Janna van Belle. October 20, 2016.

Despite the positive effect of paternity- and parental leave uptake by fathers on a number of economic, social and demographic outcomes, the current uptake of leave by fathers across Europe is low. Research has shown that there is a large number of interlocking factors that affect uptake of leave by fathers, including the height of compensation, the availability of affordable childcare, the flexibility of leave arrangements, gender norms and cultural expectations. The author describes the different policies available across Europe that address the uptake of paternity leave and parental leave, discusses the link between uptake of leave by fathers and the various outcomes associated with uptake, and gives an overview of the existing barriers to uptake. She finds that although low or absent compensation levels during the leave are a key factor why fathers will or cannot take their leave entitlement, an increase in uptake will most likely result from an interlocking set of family policies that help dual earner families to combine work and family life in a sustainable manner. These include policies that directly encourage fathers to take up leave, such as well-compensated individual leave entitlements, policies aimed at creating a sustainable solution to the challenges of combining work and family life, such as leave arrangements that are flexible and adaptive to individual needs, but also policies aimed at changing workplace culture. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 26 pages, 1.6 MB].

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