What is the Role of Parental Leave policies in shaping Work and Care in the Enlarged EU?

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The aim of the article is to examine the role of parental leave in shaping a mother's choice between work and care in the enlarged EU. A central question is how parental leave schemes affect mothers' employment and the occupational consequences for mothers who spend time on full-time caring. The article uses comparative data from the second round of the European Social Survey carried out in 2004/05. The analysis shows that both time spent on full-time care and different care policies influence mothers' subjective feelings that caring for children has negative consequences for their careers.  On the one hand, our findings confirm the hypothesis that long term absence from the labour market due to parental leave has negative consequences for women's occupational careers. On other hand, our findings show that countries with well paid parental leave schemes combined with access to high quality child care reduce mothers' perceived occupational consequences of taking leave.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorkpackage 3 : Labour Market and Social Policies
EditorsAnders Ejrnæs, Thomas Boje, Jane Lewis, Ania Plumien
Number of pages22
Place of PublicationAberdeen
PublisherUniversity of Aberdeen
Publication date2008
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Work-life balance
  • Family policy
  • Parental leave
  • EU comparison
  • Employment pattern

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