How implementing different parental leave rights creates different take-up patterns: the case of Denmark

Tine Rostgaard*, Anders Ejrnæs

*Corresponding author

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Denmark shares values on the gendered division of care work on par with other Nordic countries. Regardless, as the exceptional case in the Nordic region, Denmark has not introduced a father’s quota in the parental leave legislation, and this despite the strong impact such policy has on gender equality in leave take up. As a response, a father’s quota intended for the father to use is in Denmark implemented instead via a number of collective agreements and local work contracts but mainly for those fathers in more secure labour market positions. This situates fathers, mothers and their children very unequally in regards to leave entitlements, thus risking to maintain existing inequalities across gender and labour market positions. This article investigates whether Danish values on gender roles in relation to work and care may explain the unique position Denmark has as the Nordic outlier in gender equality of parental leave policies, before investigating how many and which fathers tend to take leave. We use data from the European Value Study 1990-2017 as well as administrative data for fathers’ take-up of leave in the same period, relative to other Nordic countries, and for particular educational backgrounds. We conclude that also in Denmark do men (and women) across all ages and educational levels support gender equality in sharing of work and family life. This indicates that the lower take-up of leave which we find among Danish men with lower education is mainly due to their more insecure position in the labour market. Not having a father’s quota seems to affects fathers disproportionally across the educational divide.
TidsskriftSocial Inclusion
StatusAfsendt - 15 okt. 2020

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