Parental leave for European fathers: migrant perspectives

01.02.2017

Parental leave, with a special quota for fathers as its hallmark, is a welfare-state contribution in Norway aimed at mobilizing fathers as carers. Research has documented that individualized, nontransferable parental leave is effective for promoting more gender equal fathering practices in caring and employment. Studies have not, however, explored the processes of constructing these outcomes. We have investigated this issue by means of interviews with middle-class immigrant fathers from various European countries to Norway. The ‘outsider-within’ perspective represented by immigrants’ experiences is a novel intake to understanding the leave system. Results show that the fathers’ quota, being a statutory right and generously compensated for, is understood as accepted by employers and universally used by fathers. The principle of earmarking and non-transferability is experienced as a great possibility to care for their children and perceived as important since both male and female employees are constructed as potential parents who will take parental leave. It is in comparison with the care regimes of their homelands that this insight becomes perceptible. These results can be seen as supporting the tendency to convergence, not in the actual care policies, but in the attitudes towards parental leave held by the fathers from these countries.

 

Elin Kvande & Berit Brandth (2016): Individualized, non-transferable parental leave for European fathers: migrant perspectives, Community, Work & Family, DOI: 10.1080/13668803.2016.1270258

 

The link to this article: dx.doi.org/10.1080/13668803.2016.1270258

Parental leave, with a special quota for fathers as its hallmark, is a welfare-state contribution in Norway aimed at mobilizing fathers as carers. Research has documented that individualized, nontransferable parental leave is effective for promoting more gender equal fathering practices in caring and employment. Studies have not, however, explored the processes of constructing these outcomes. We have investigated this issue by means of interviews with middle-class immigrant fathers from various European countries to Norway. The ‘outsider-within’ perspective represented by immigrants’ experiences is a novel intake to understanding the leave system. Results show that the fathers’ quota, being a statutory right and generously compensated for, is understood as accepted by employers and universally used by fathers. The principle of earmarking and non-transferability is experienced as a great possibility to care for their children and perceived as important since both male and female employees are constructed as potential parents who will take parental leave. It is in comparison with the care regimes of their homelands that this insight becomes perceptible. These results can be seen as supporting the tendency to convergence, not in the actual care policies, but in the attitudes towards parental leave held by the fathers from these countries.

Elin Kvande & Berit Brandth (2016): Individualized, non-transferable parental leave for European fathers: migrant perspectives, Community, Work & Family, DOI: 10.1080/13668803.2016.1270258

To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13668803.2016.1270258