Fathers who take paternity or parental leave are more likely to perform tasks such as feeding and bathing children, this report shows.
What’s the issue?
All OECD countries, except the US, offer nationwide paid maternity leave for at least 12 weeks, and over half grant fathers paid paternity leave when a baby arrives. More and more countries now also offer paid parental leave, i.e. a longer period of job-protected leave that is available to both parents. Mothers generally use much of their leave entitlements— almost all take maternity leave and often extend it by taking at least some parental leave. But the picture is different for fathers. While men commonly take a few days of paternity leave right after the birth of a baby, only the most committed and bravest use their right to longer parental leave. In many countries, fathers account for less than one in five of those taking parental leave. The share of men among parental leave users goes up to 40% or more in some Nordic countries and in Portugal, but is as low as one in fifty in Australia, the Czech Republic and Poland. The good news, however, is that men’s use of parental leave is rising on average. In Finland, the male share doubled between the 2006 and 2013 while in Belgium it grew by almost 10 percentage points over roughly the same period. Still, some countries have seen little change. In Austria and France, men account for just 4% of parents taking parental leave, broadly the same as about a decade ago.