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Session Overview
RN14_03a_P: Parents
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Aine Ni Leime, National University of Ireland, Galway
Location: PF.1.43
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: F, Level: 1.

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Managers' views on parental leave and work/family balance - problems and solutions within different institutional logics.

Tanja Haraldsdottir Nordberg

Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway

This paper contributes to recent years’ debate on effects of family policies such as the right to parental leave. Whereas some researchers have highlighted the positive effects for gender equality, others have pointed at utilising such policies having negative consequences for women’s careers. This debate contains implicit assumptions about how managers perceive of employees’ use of parental leave, but few studies have examined managers’ views directly.

This paper examines how managers within the Norwegian police and legal profession view employees’ use of parental leave. Data comprises qualitative interviews with 34 managers.

The paper adopts an institutional logics approach. The managers’ problematisations of employees’ parental leave, as well as proposed solutions, are analysed as signalling cues of the logics the managers’ views are grounded in. The paper also discusses the relevance of assumptions about managers’ perspectives that are implicit in two central explanations for women’s lack of career progression following childbirth; the theory of human capital depreciation and parental leave’s signalling effect. What does this look like within different institutional logics?

The paper finds that whereas the managers in private law firms and in the police problematise parental leave, the managers in public sector legal offices view parental leave as unproblematic. Importantly, profession and sector cannot solely explain the differences in the managers’ views. The paper locates these different views in the different institutional logics the managers draw on. The role the employees have in the organisation, the nature of the work tasks and the employee’s gender are central for whether the managers view parental leave as problematic or not.

The impact of flexibilization of work on caring masculinities

Živa Humer

Peace Institute, Institute for Contemporary Social and Political Studies, Slovenia

Slovenia has dual-earner model from the Second World War on with full time employment of women and men supported by the family policy of gender neutral parental leave and accessible, subsidized public child care services for more. The state upgraded the parental leave scheme with paternity leave in 2003 aiming to foster caring role of fathers. However, the precarisation, the intensification and flexibilisation of work in Slovenia result in that almost three thirds of first jobs for young people are atypical, precarious forms of employment. The neoliberal market based on the concept of »ideal worker« unburdened with care and family obligations, deriving from traditional gender role division represent one of the key factors affecting the involvement of fathers in care for children. Based on qualitative empirical evidence we analyze how work arrangements and working positions influence fatherhood and the possibilities of work – family reconciliation. In particularly the focus is on the impact of paid work on two groups of fathers: in precarious forms of employment and in leading and managerial positions. The analysis shows the greater shifts toward caring fatherhood and variations of relations between paid work and fathering can be observed in the group of fathers in precarious employments. Fathers in leading and managerial positions with full power to development of work – family reconciliation mechanisms, express prevailing hegemonic masculinity with limited participation in care for children fulfilled in »weekend fatherhood«.

How do fathers adapt their work to become involved in childcare? Gender differences for Work-life balance in workplaces in Spain

Teresa Jurado-Guerrero1, Carmen Botia-Morillas2, Paco Abril3, Jordi Monferrer4

1Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Spain; 2Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Spain; 3Universitat de Girona, Spain; 4Universidad a Distancia de Madrid, Spain

Based on three discussion groups conducted in Barcelona, Madrid and Seville in 2016 and on recent statistical data, this paper explores the barriers and possibilities that involved fathers encounter at their workplaces when they enter parenthood. Involved fathers are defined as those who adapt their working time, work schedule or workplace to parenting, or those who have a job that allows for work-life balance. In addition, they form dual-earner couples with a full-time working partner and spend at least two hours at weekdays caring for their children. Fathers from public sector enterprises, medium to large private companies and small businesses participated in one discussion group respectively.

This qualitative and quantitative analysis shows that working in tight shifts (mornings mainly), as well as schedule flexibility, telework and paid paternity leaves are the measures mostly used by the interviewed fathers, and by Spanish fathers in general. In addition, the use of schedule flexibility and telework display very low gender gaps in contrast to opting for unpaid and transferable leaves or the use of statutory entitlement to reduced workhours. Under certain circumstances supervisors and coworkers attitudes are described as hostile to the adoption of support measures. Some clear policy recommendations arise from this study, should the aim be to foster work-life balance for fathers and mothers but without having unintended consequences on gender inequality.

The impact of parental leave policy on the labour-market engagement of mothers. Do the number of children and pre-birth work engagement matter?

Marie Valentova

LISER, Luxembourg

In this paper, we examine the impact of the introduction of parental leave policy in 1999 on the labour-market engagement of mothers with one and two children in Luxembourg. Labour-market engagement is measured by the number of hours worked monthly, one, two and three years following the birth of the last child. Analyses are conducted using longitudinal social security records data from 1995 to 2002. The difference-in-differences (DiD) method is used to establish a causal relationship between the introduction of the policy and its outcomes. The results of the analyses reveal that among mothers with one child, the introduction of the policy had a significant and positive impact on the working hours during the first three years after childbirth. Among mothers of two children, the impact of the policy was significant for one year after childbirth. Heterogeneity effect analysis shows that single-child mothers who worked part time before childbirth were substantially more responsive to the policy than their full-time working counterparts.

Key words: parental leave, family policy, evaluation, female labour market participation

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