Do Collective Agreements Influence Male Parental Leave Take up in Sweden?

Ann-Zofie Duvander , Stockholm University
Karin Halldén, Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)
Alison Koslowski, Edinburgh Uiversity
Gabriella Lindquist Sjögren, Stockholm University

One of the major reasons for a gendered division of parental leave is the economic compensation during leave. Swedish parental leave benefit provides 77.6 % of earlier earnings, but collective agreements between employer and unions have over time developed to cover the income loss during leave. We focus on the importance of such agreements for fathers’ parental leave take-up. The main division of agreements is between the 1) state, 2) municipality and county and 3) private sector. The difference in agreements for different segments of the labor market is likely to influence parental leave use, especially for parents with income over the ceiling and who would otherwise lose a lot of income while on leave. We compare how parental leave is used in the beginning of the 2000s and a decade later, when agreements are more generous. Our focus will be on men in different sectors and with different income levels, thus differently affected by the change in the agreements. Preliminary findings indicate differences in leave take-up between fathers’ in different sectors, and it seems that income level is also important. Especially in the private sector a polarization can be seen, where fathers with high income increase their leave use over time while low income fathers fall behind. The study will deepen our understanding of how and whether the level of economic compensation during leave matters for take-up, even in an already generous statutory system.

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 Presented in Session 45. Policy Issues