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Parental leave: from perception to first-hand experience

  • Télé-université, Université du Québec, Canada

Abstract and Figures

Purpose Paid parental leave for both mothers and fathers has fed countless debates. Four years after the implementation of a new parental leave policy in Quebec, this paper aims to assess how parental leave is perceived in the workplace. Design/methodology/approach Using data from employee surveys carried out in a municipal police service, the paper employs analysis of variance techniques to compare the perception of parental leave within two groups of respondents: those who had gone on parental leave and those who had not. Findings The findings highlight significant differences between the perceptions of parental leave entertained by the respondents who have taken it up and those who have not yet experienced parental leave. Social implications Analysing these differences has produced extremely interesting findings: adopting a public policy is not sufficient; organisations need to make employees feel supported in taking parental leave if they really want the policy to achieve the targeted results. Originality/value Paid parental leave is relatively new in Europe and almost non‐existent in North America and few studies have been carried out to measure their perception in the workplace. This research shows how important it is to follow the use of the policy to make sure that it does not have negative impacts for those who use it.
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Parental Leave: From perception to first-hand experience
Research paper
Diane-Gabrielle Tremblay and Emilie Genin
Paper published in the International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
See Journal for final version of paper
Purpose: Paid parental leave for both mothers and fathers has fed countless debates. Four
years after the implementation of a new parental leave policy in Québec, we assessed
how the system was perceived in the workplace.
Design: Using data from employee surveys carried out in a municipal police service, this
article employs ANOVA techniques to compare the perception of parental leave of two
groups of respondents: those who went on parental leave and those who did not.
Findings: Our findings outline significant differences between the perception of parental
leave entertained by the respondents who have previously taken it up and those who have
not yet experienced parental leave.
Social implications: Analysing the differences identified turns out to be extremely
interesting since it stresses the fact that a public policy is not enough and organisations
need to make sure employees feel supported in taking these leaves if they really want the
policy to achieve the targeted results.
Originality: Paid parental leave are relatively new in Europe and quasi nonexistent in
North America and few studies have been carried out to measure their perception in the
workplace. Our research shows how important it is to follow the actual use of the policy
to make sure it does not have negative impacts for those who use it.
Keywords: parental leave, work-life balance, police workforce
In the past few years, parental leave for both mothers and fathers has fed countless
debates in the wake of the European Community’s efforts to change the existing maternal
leave and to introduce various adjustments, including paternity leaves. With the
exception of the USA and Australia, almost all developed countries have parental leave
and a few among them have paid paternal leave (especially Scandinavian countries like
Sweden, Finland, Norway and Iceland). Other countries have parental leave which, in one
form or another, can be taken up or shared by both parents (Moss and O’Brien, 2006). In
the Canadian province of Québec, responsibility for parental leave was taken over by the
provincial jurisdiction in 2006 and a number of modifications were introduced to the
Canadian parental leave policy: a three to five week paid leave is set apart for the father
and more flexibility is offered toward taking up the leave period (Tremblay, 2009).
Four years into the implementation of the new parental leave policy in Québec, we set out
to assess how it was perceived in the workplace. We examined the police sector, a
traditionally male, stress-laden environment and with variable work schedules, something
which concerns a good part of the workforce (between a quarter and a third, depending
on definition and source; cf. Tremblay, 2004a). Male work environments are not often
open to family-friendly policies (Tremblay, 2003); yet changing mentalities in Québec
tend to value parenthood and men seem to want to be increasingly involved in their
parental role (Conseil de la Famille et de l'Enfance, 2008; Doucet, Mckay and Tremblay,
2009; Marshall, 2006). In addition, women were admitted in the police force 25 years ago
and their number has increased ever since, even if they remain a minority. The extended
parental leave policy implemented in Québec is in keeping with such social evolution and
it is relevant to investigate the perception of this type of leave in the police sector.
Parental leave should allow parents to concentrate on family matters for a certain period,
to keep their job and to return to their paid employment afterwards without problem
(Doucet, Mckay and Tremblay, 2009). The findings of our research, however, reveal that
this is not always the case and that parental leave is sometimes perceived as a negative
element in career development. Recent studies on work-life balance issues (Duxbury and
Higgins, 2003; Tremblay, 2003; Tremblay, 2004) mainly focused on work time flexibility
and less on the impact of going on parental leave. Since the parental leave policy is rather
new in Québec as in many other places, it is important to see how parental leave is used
and to observe the consequences especially since studies on long parental leaves and on
paternity leaves are scarce.
After reviewing the literature on parental leave and organisational support for work-life
balance, we will present the research design. Our findings clearly outline the significant
differences between the perception of parental leave entertained by the respondents who
have previously taken it up and those who have not experienced it and thus highlight
differences in the management of this public policy. Analysing these differences is also
extremely interesting for those organisations and policy makers who wish to support
employees with parental leave and work-life balance. In addition, our findings stress that
the formal offer of measures is not enough and that organisational support is needed to
make sure employees really feel these leaves are accessible and have no detrimental
effects on their career.
Parental leave in Quebec
While working environment arrangements are generally in the employer’s discretion in
Anglo-Saxon countries, most European countries provide parents with public policies or
tools aimed at improving work-life balance (Cette et al., 2007). In Canada, maternal leave
exists since 1971, and a six month parental leave has been extended to one year in 2001;
the latter can be taken up or shared by both parents (Doucet, Mckay and Tremblay,
2009). With respect to family policies, the province of Québec stands out as a North
American exception since public policies have long supported work-life balance (Cette et
al., 2007). In January 2006, Québec launched a new parental leave program to promote
professional equality among women and men regardless of their employment status. The
program allows parents to benefit from a flexible parental leave and pays 50% to 75% of
the salary depending on the plan chosen out of the two options offered (Doucet, Mckay
and Tremblay, 2009). Québec’s program also provides a three to five week period of paid
paternity leave that is non-transferable to the mother. The non-transferable paternity leave
and the possibility to share the parental leave are clearly intended to bring men to
participate in parental responsibilities when the children are the youngest. It is presumed
that men would later participate more in their education (Conseil de la Famille et de
l'Enfance, 2008), and that this would further benefit child development and work-life
balance (Marshall, 2008). Fertility rate was also a concern for Québec and provided
another incentive toward designing and implementing this program although women’s
access to the labour market, children’s rights and the participation of men in family
responsibilities was as important in designing the measure (Doucet, Mckay and
Tremblay, 2009; Marshall, 2008). As Lewis and Campbell (2008) noted, sharing care at
the household level poses particularly difficult issues, for there is a tension between the
individual’s real freedom to choose and gender equality. How free is the free choice of
women to go on parental leave? For this reason, the government of Quebec introduced a
non-transferable leave aiming at tackling the issue of gender inequity.
In Canada as well as in other industrialised countries, a significant increase of activity of
women with young children can be observed (Doucet, Mckay and Tremblay, 2009).
While some parents quit paid employment for a few months or a few years to care for
their young children, most households today being headed by two active parents (Almey,
2007); a majority of women with children under two years of age being active in the
labour market (Marshall, 2006). It is understood that parental leave is intended to make
both parents available to their young children but mothers take advantage of it in larger
numbers and over longer periods (Marshall, 2003). Indeed, mothers take on average 10-
11 months of leave, while men take on average 7 weeks in Québec. The new parental
leave system in Québec clearly demonstrates the positive effect that a non-transferable
paid paternity leave can and does have on the participation rate of fathers (Marshall,
2008). Indeed 56% of fathers eligible to paternity leave took advantage of this program in
2006, 70 % in 2008, while only 32% had done so in 2005 (when the leave was
transferable to the mother); in our view, this clearly indicates how a non-transferable paid
leave is an important factor in the participation of fathers in parental leave.
Parental leave should allow the parent to return to employment without difficulty
(Doucet, Mckay and Tremblay, 2009). However, research shows that several
organisational and cultural factors may contribute to the success or to the failure of
family-friendly policies (Fusulier, Giraldo and Lanoy, 2006). Leave take-up or the use of
other family-friendly policies is sometimes perceived as having a negative impact on
one’s career (Fusulier, Tremblay and di Loreto, 2008). The benefits that may be expected
from these policies are then largely overvalued. A British research conducted by
Mumford and Budd (2006) shows that there is a disparity between the presence of work-
life balance policy and the employees' perceptions of its accessibility. The authors argue
that statistics on the existence of family-friendly policies may significantly overstate the
extent to which such policies are really accessible to employees. They also indicate that
the discrepancy between formal provision and actual usage should be the subject of
future research, which is why we wanted to look into perceptions and intentions to avail
themselves of these policies.
Work-life balance and organisational support
A number of studies report that parents complain about time constraints, especially
parents of young children under six (6) years of age (Conference Board of Canada, 1994;
Frederick, 1995; Tremblay, 2004). Parents also complain about work-family conflicts
likely to result from time pressures (Stephens and Sommer, 1996). Greenhaus and Beutell
(1985) define work-family conflict as the incompatibility between work requirements and
family obligations such that one's involvement in the former constrains participation in
the latter. Conflicts crop up when the individual perceives his/her family expectations as
being at odds with that of his/her professional role(s) and vice versa (Frone and Rice,
1987). Family-friendly policies are usually designed to offset or to ease the articulation of
workers’ times and responsibilities, as it is the case for parental leave.
A number of studies have identified work environment factors affecting work-family
conflict. Some research has identified the presence of family-friendly policies, then the
support of managers, supervisors, and finally that of colleagues (Conference Board of
Canada, 1994; Duxbury and Higgins, 2003; Kossek and Ozeki, 1998; Rothbard, Philips
and Dumas, 2005). The industrial sector and the professional category are other variables
likely to affect how work-life issues are dealt with. Researchers have shown that
managers and professionals are less satisfied with their work-life balance than other
workers (Duxbury, Higgins and Lee, 1993; Elliott, Dale and Egerton, 2001; Frederick
and Fast, 2001; Galinsky, Kim and Bond, 2001). It is for this reason that we focused on a
demanding work environment policing occupational activities, known for its variable
work schedules and the stress involved.
Other researchers draw the attention on the impact of organisational culture, and on the
behaviour and attitude of colleagues and supervisors on the problems encountered in
articulating professional and personal responsibilities (Allard, Haas and Hwang, 2007;
Caussignac, 2000; Chenevier, 1996; Haas, Allard and Hwang, 2002; Lewis, 2001).
Generally speaking, the manager’s negative attitude stresses the employee, generates
dissatisfaction and consequently sets the stage for further absenteeism. Guérin et al.
(1997) has observed that organisational culture bears on the intensity of work-family
conflict; where the employee does not feel that he/she is to suffer penalties because of
family matters, he/she is less likely to experience work-family conflict. Conflict is also
lessened when the employee believes that the manager feels empathy or accepts
arrangements in order to facilitate work-life balance. Without a supportive work-life
organisational culture and management’s acceptance of arrangements and support, the
provision of family-friendly policies will not necessarily lead to better work-life balance
outcomes (Bond, 2004; Campbell Clark, 2001; Lewis, 2001). Findings reported by
Behson (2005) and by Thompson, Beauvais and Lyness (1999) underline that the simple
fact of implementing family-friendly policies will often turn out to be inefficient where
informal support is not provided in the guise of a positive attitude from management and
an inspiring work environment such that employees need not fear for the pursuit of their
career should these policies be claimed.
From an organisational point of view, it therefore seems that while much research insists
on the offer of family-friendly policies (Duxbury and Higgins, 2003; Conference Board,
1994), organisations may play a positive or negative mediating role in the actual access
and use of family-friendly policies, amongst which parental leave (Families and Work
Institute, 1998; Fusulier, Giraldo and Lanoy, 2006; Fusulier, Tremblay and di Loreto,
Although such measures belong to public policy in Québec, it appears that their use is
likely to vary from one organisation to the next, depending on the perception held by the
employees and the anticipated consequence on their career. The employer’s support
therefore appears to be an essential ingredient in the success of the parental leave. It also
seems that perceived organisational support toward parental leave is likely to encourage
or discourage and even deter employees from using those policies. In order for these
policies to fulfil their objectives, it is necessary that employed parents be confident in
their use of these policies and without fear for consequences on their career.
We may therefore make the hypothesis that support from the work environment plays a
significant role in the perception of parental leave held by the members of the police
force under study. In order to assess the informal support of the work environment,
studies quoted thus far (Behson, 2005; Guérin et al., 1997; Thompson, Beauvais and
Lyness, 1999) have focused on the support by colleagues and managers, and on the
impact on one’s career should one use family-friendly policies. This research reopens the
same factors but our intention is to further the analysis and study the effect of parental
leave on one’s career as perceived by persons who went on parental leave and by those
who did not. This method is of course based on perceptions, but it nevertheless gives
good indications as to the impact of this program.
The police working environment is not thought of, outright, as a job environment that
would actually encourage or promote work-life balance. Indeed the police working
environment is, with its stress factors, professional risks and variable work schedules, a
significantly demanding working environment. Work-life balance concerns are the same
in other police organisations in Canada and elsewhere, at least where the workforce
includes a good percentage of young workers and of women, and the subject came up in
collective bargaining elsewhere in Canadian cities (for example, Gatineau). The police
force is traditionally a male environment; yet one of the significant tendencies of the
evolution of many police organisations is the feminization of a large segment of the work
force in the last twenty years. Moreover, it seems that younger generations attach more
importance to work-life balance than older generations, even at the expense of their
career expectations (Labrèche and Lavoie, 2004). In addition, younger generations are
more open to role sharing between men and women and this includes going on parental
Presentation of the sample
In the police service we studied (Service de police de la Ville de Montréal SPVM),
women were about 28% of the police workforce in 2006, a 6% increase since 2001
(Vallière and Lavoie, 2006). The civilian workforce at the SPVM has long been
feminised; the total SPVM workforce accounted for 36% of women in 2006 (Vallière and
Lavoie, 2006). In spite of this progress in terms of feminization, women are still found
mainly in administrative and support jobs or functions (Lavoie, 2005). Another salient
trend is the renewal of the working force. In 2006, 65% of the SPVM employees were
born after 1965. The presence of women and of a young workforce both contribute to the
rise of new issues and expectations among police forces, especially with respect to work-
life balance.
The Montreal police actually noted an increase not only in maternity leave but also in
paternity leave, and in parental leave generally. Further, the employer expects that the
number of days of absence relating to this type of leave will continue to increase in the
coming years (Vallière and Lavoie, 2006). This is understandable since younger women
(under 40) are in larger number in the police force, are the object of protective re-
assignment when pregnant.
Family concerns are among the progressively more important issues for police
employees. According to Lavoie (2005), almost two thirds of police employees believe
that their supervisors support them in the work-life balance efforts. Labrèche and Lavoie
(2004) observe that the integration of women in the police force improves constantly.
Where significant advances have been made, however, problems remain regarding work-
life balance. A survey carried out in 2005 indicates that 96% of employees believe that
the employer does well in its concern for work-life balance (Lavoie, 2005). This
translates into the fact that for 61% of participants, planning one’s career is conditioned
by work-life balance. Moreover, 40% of policewomen and policemen declare that they
are faced with work-family conflict.
Data collection and analysis
Our research rests on questionnaires administered online for the most part but also by
mail (for a few who asked). The survey was carried out in 2007 with the collaboration of
human resources management. A questionnaire was emailed to all the members of the
police force. We retrieved 206 usable replies, 106 men and 100 women
. Women are
therefore overrepresented in our survey (women are 36% of the work force). The
questionnaire was also submitted to administrative employees, a majority of which are
women (this category of workers may also be subject to variable work schedules and high
stress although they are not policewomen). The form included questions on (i) the
existence of family-friendly policies, (ii) work-family conflict in general, and on (iii) the
support provided to take parental leave. More precisely, our questions probed on five
dimensions of perceived workplace support to go on parental leave, based on previous
research (Behson, 2005; Guérin et al., 1997; Thompson, Beauvais and Lyness, 1999):
1. The possibility to miss work for parental reasons
2. The support of the supervisor to go on parental leave
3. The support of colleagues to go on parental leave
4. The organisational culture regarding parental leave
5. The negative impacts of parental leave on the career.
In order to draft the questions, we drew on previous work (Chenevier, 1996; Guérin et
al., 1997; Families and Work Institute, 1998; Caussignac, 2000; Tremblay, 2005) that
dealt with the support of the management and colleagues to work-life balance (ex:
Should I go on parental leave, I have the support of my supervisor). Regarding the
perception of parental leave, we wanted to assess separately the opinion of those who had
used parental leave and compare that with the opinion of persons who had never used it.
For all the dimensions, we compared the answers of those respondents who actually went
on parental leave with the answers of those who did not. The logic of asking these two
groups the same questions may lend itself to debate. However, our study deals with the
perception of the respondents and our goal was to assess if their perception of
organisational support is different whether they used the program or not. We did not
intent to assess the program itself by asking only those who used it.. For this reason, it
appeared relevant to use the same formulation. For most questions, we used Likert’s
scales in four points
. The scales thus included the following anchors: totally disagree (1),
disagree (2), agree (3) and totally agree (4).To compare the two groups we used ANOVA
analysis conducted with SPSS. This whole research project also included some 52
interviews with police men and women. Though we will not refer to these directly here, ,
the interviews do confirm the quantitative data, offering qualitative views and informing
us further on the issue (Tremblay, Genin and Di Loreto, 2009).
Our data analysis unveiled an interesting result that is significant differences between the
perception of persons who have experienced parental leave and other respondents who
have not. Gender remains a central differentiating factor for parental leave. Table 1
shows the proportion of men and of women who have gone on parental leave among our
respondents. More than 15% of men and 29% of women in our sample already went on
parental leave. The results obtained in our study are coherent with provincial and national
figures published by Québec and Canada (Doucet, Mckay and Tremblay, 2009): study
after study, it is clear that women are the main users of parental leave (85-90 % of
working women who have children do take a leave), although Quebec fathers tend to use
it as well, but not as long, as mentioned above.
Table 1: Rate of take-up of parental leave by men and women
Given that few of our male respondents had gone on parental leave, it was not relevant to
provide a distribution according to gender.
An unlikely environment for work-life balance, yet with a globally positive perception of
parental leave
Generally speaking, our participants do not perceive their work environment as well
adapted to work-life balance. The overall organisational support for work-life balance is
perceived as quite low. Indeed, to the proposition I feel that my professional
environment is attentive to work-life balance”, nearly half of our respondents express
their disagreement. We conclude that opinions are roughly even regarding work-life
balance in the police force.
Table 2: Descriptive Statistics
Nevertheless, the attitude of participants toward parental leave is extremely positive (see
table 2 for means and standard deviations). Approximately 65% agree with the statement
that “it’s in the culture that the leave be taken”; and more than 80% believe they had or
would have the support of their supervisors and colleagues to take it. The results we
gathered actually indicate that the police force work environment is a priori rather
favourable to taking up various forms of parental leaves (maternity leave, paternity leave
and parental leave). The results overall lead us to believe that the police sector, although
it is not particularly suited to work-life balance, is relatively open to parental leaves.
However we encounter discrepancies in the attitudes toward parental leave. There is
actually a difference of perception between discourse and firsthand experience of parents
who have gone on parental leave.
Respondents who have gone on parental leave have a less positive opinion
Although the perception of parental leave is generally positive, statistically significant
differences are observed between participants who have gone on parental leave and those
who have not. In fact, persons who have gone on parental leave have a less positive
opinion of the organisational support actually provided, which is interesting, although it
of course remains a perception of the individuals. Given the many statements used in the
analysis, these perceptions appear quite solid.
Table 3: Correlations
Our results indicate that having gone on parental leave is negatively correlated to all the
dimensions of the perceived organisational support for parental leave (see table 3)
supervisor’s support (-0,295), colleagues’ support (-0,176), organisational culture (-
0,211) and negative impacts on the career (-0,349). The negative impacts of parental
leave on the career are also correlated to gender, i.e., women in general are more liable
than men to consider that parental leave has negative impacts on their career.
Nevertheless, the correlation is stronger between the actual use of parental leave and the
negative impacts perceived on one’s career.
Table 4 : ANOVA
The results of the ANOVAs comparing the two groups those who went on parental
leave and those who did not - show that there are significant differences between them on
three dimensions: the supervisor’s support, the organisational culture and the negative
impacts on the career (see table 4).
More than 91% of respondents who have never gone on parental leave are convinced that
they would have their supervisor’s support to take it and only 9% of them think they
would not. On the contrary, amongst persons who have gone on parental leave, “only”
half are convinced they have received support from their supervisor and the other half
think they did not have their supervisor’s support, a rather high proportion. Important
discrepancies are therefore observed in the perceptions of supervisors’ support toward
parental leave. Respondents who have never gone on parental leave are definitely more
optimistic than their colleagues who have experienced the program.
We have seen that organisational culture is a rather important element to support or
disrupt work-life balance. With respect to organisational culture, opinions are almost
evenly distributed among persons having gone on parental leave (half of them agree that
organisational culture promotes parental leave). Perception is once more dependent on
whether respondents have gone on parental leave or not and statistical tests show
significant differences between groups. Respondents who never went on parental leave
mostly believe it is in the organisational culture to take it (69% agree with the statement,
including an 18% who are in total agreement). On the other hand, nearly one quarter of
those who have gone on parental leave totally disagree with the statement. Persons who
have gone on parental leave have a less favourable opinion of organisational culture
concerning the uptake of parental leave. Respondents who did not go on parental leave,
for their part, do not have a firsthand experience of the issue and their perception is that
workplace culture is very supportive for parental leave. Such differences in the
perception of organisational culture regarding parental leave show that problems crop out
for parents who go on parental leave despite advances in this respect over the years.
Finally, the question regarding the impact of parental leave on one’s career shows very
significant differences between the groups. Overall, two thirds of respondents agree with
the statement that there are no negative impacts on my career”. Again, significant
differences appear between respondents who have gone on parental leave and those who
have not. The former disagree with the statement in a larger proportion; less than one
third are convinced that going on parental leave has no negative impacts on one’s career.
A large majority of respondents (71%) who have gone on parental leave are convinced
that parental leave holds negative impacts for their career while 73% of respondents who
have never gone on parental leave firsthand think the opposite. This finding clearly
underlines the differences in the perception of persons with and without experience of the
parental leave program.
As long as respondents have not been actually confronted with the problems involved in
going on parental leave, especially where career path is concerned, they do not perceive
the issue. True, the work environment does not seem reluctant regarding parental leave,
but our results clearly show that persons who have gone on parental leave still have the
feeling that there is a price to pay in terms of career path. Indeed, more than two thirds of
them are convinced that parental leave has a negative impact on one’s career.
Our results question the application of a given social policy: parental leave. They show
that there are substantially important differences between the perception of parental leave
by those who have never taken up such dispositions and the experience of those who
have. The former have a rather positive perception of the organisational support they
would receive should they go on parental leave. For the latter, however, perceptions are
mixed. The hands-on experience with parental leave has no doubt driven them to re-
evaluate the level of organisational support they received to go on parental leave. A
majority of employees who have already gone on parental leave believe that there are
negative impacts on one’s career.
People who never went on parental leave seem to be much more optimistic regarding the
organisational support offered by supervisors and the organisation in general than those
who have taken parental leave firsthand. It is possible that a manager who has never gone
on parental leave would offer less support than a manager who has, simply because the
former is unaware of the difficulties actually facing the employees who take this leave.
Our results clearly show that the simple implementation of a family-friendly policy, such
as parental leave, will not necessarily lead to better work-life balance outcomes without
appropriate organisational support, thus confirming the importance of organisation
support put forward in other research (Behson, 2005; Bond, 2004; Campbell Clark, 2001;
Lewis, 2001; Thompson, Beauvais and Lyness, 1999), but not as concerns a specific
social policy. They draw the attention on the role that needs to be played by organisations
and managers alike to alleviate the persistent difficulties facing workers who go on
parental leave, especially when returning to paid employment, if this innovative policy is
to have really positive impacts. It is only after going on parental leave that parents come
to realize the negative impact of the leave on their career. This should convince
organisations to prepare for the return of employees from parental leave and provide the
support they need to prevent any negative impact on their career. It should also bring
policy developers to try to consider the possible negative impacts of such a social policy
on individuals, and especially on women here. Otherwise, the parental leave policy may
not attain its objectives which consist in balancing work and family roles between
mothers and fathers. Or even worse, this type of leave will only reinforce existing
tendencies toward gendered specialisation of roles and block the upward movement of
women who more often than men go on parental leave and do so for longer periods than
men (Moss and O’Brien, 2006; Tremblay, 2003; Tremblay, 2004). The paid parental
leave policy which had been considered as a significant progress toward professional
equality may well reinforce women’s traditional role with children without significant
collateral effect on the father’s role. Overall, the global effect of this policy on women’s
contribution to the labour market would therefore turn out to be rather negative with
respect to professional equity (Doucet, Mckay and Tremblay, 2009). Policy design and
follow-up on policy impacts is crucial, especially when it comes to gender equality
(Lewis and Campbell, 2008).
The province of Québec designed a more flexible policy than Canada with higher
compensation and time for the father, and this has had a positive impact on father’s
participation in parental leave. Yet, as shown in the results of our study, it seems that
going on parental leave may still have negative impacts on one’s career and further
investigation is thus required in order to better understand the workplace issues involved
with these policies and measures and make them as efficient as possible. Consequently, it
is also important to follow the actual use of the policy to make sure it does not have
negative impacts for those who use it.
Although our findings are limited to the sector involved in our study, i.e., the police
sector, the results may be valid for other sectors as well, since the use of parental leave
concerns all sectors, and this is something we will pursue in our future research.
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Table 2: Rate of take-up of parental leave by men and women
Parental leave
No previous leave
Previous leave taken
Should I go on parental leave:
I can find a way to miss work
I have my supervisor’s support
I have my colleagues’ support
It’s in the culture that the leave
be taken
There are no negative impacts
on my career
Table 3: Correlations
1. Sex
2. Parental leave
3. I can find a way to miss work
4. I have my supervisor’s support
5. I have my colleagues’ support
6. It’s in the culture that the leave
be taken
7. There are no negative impacts
on my career
*Sig. at 0.005
**Sig. at 0.001
Table 4 : ANOVA
Sum of
Mean of
3. I can find a way to
miss work
4. I have my
supervisor’s support
5. I have my
colleagues’ support
It’s in the culture that
the leave be taken
7. There are no
negative impacts on my
The response rate is of 5% if we calculate on the whole workforce. This may appear very low, but the
HRM department has indicated that many employees do not use the professional email, so that many
probably never saw the invitation to answer the questionnaire. The response rate is also weak on questions
relating directly to parental leave because non-parents probably felt that they were not directly concerned
by the issue.
In the case of perceptions, it appeared preferable to not offer a neutral option. Had there been a neutral
point in the scale, non-parents may have opted for this option, while our purpose was to have their opinion
on the matter.
... For instance, studies using panel and survey data have confirmed the negative effects of parental leave with respect to subsequent promotions and income development (e.g., Evertsson, 2016). At the level of subjective evaluations of career consequences, a quantitative study has revealed that the majority of fathers who went on leave believe their decision negatively impacted their career (Tremblay & Genin, 2010). Moreover, exploratory qualitative studies in countries with different leave regulations (i.e., ranging from no statutory leave entitlement to fully-compensated leave) showed that across contexts, male leave-takers experienced barriers or work penalties once they returned to work (O'Brien & Wall, 2017). ...
This research aims to expand the understanding of how fathers' daily parental leave experiences are affected by the interplay of organizational influences and fathers' leave behavior. Using data from a diary study involving fathers on parental leave from Germany and Austria (N = 108), we examined the impact of family-supportive organizational perceptions and length of leave on fathers' daily work-related worries. With regard to within-person effects, we took a closer look at the relationship between fathers' daily contact with other organizational members and their work-related worries. Multilevel analyses confirmed the impact of fathers' family-supportive organizational perceptions on their work-related worries during the leave period. Fathers perceiving their organization as family-supportive were found to have fewer worries than fathers perceiving their organization as family-unsupportive. Remarkably, with respect to the leave duration, our results indicated that fathers who took relatively short leaves of not more than two months worried more intensely regarding the impact of their leave on their work life than fathers who took long leaves. Furthermore, particularly among those fathers who perceive their organization as unsupportive, a short leave was found to be associated with increased work-related worries. With respect to daily contact with persons from the work domain, we found that on days when fathers had more contact, their worries were more pronounced. Additionally, the findings suggested that more intense worries on one day lead to increased contact on the following day. We discuss practical implications, taking into consideration that it is essential to perceive the work environment as supportive for leave-taking to be beneficial for both fathers as well as organizations.
... For fathers, we fi nd that dedicating parental leave to fathers increased the participation of fathers in the program, but whether this translated into a greater involvement of fathers in the child's life over the long run remains to be shown. As pointed out by Tremblay and Genin (2010 ), dedicating weeks to fathers is a step in the right direction, but it is likely not suffi cient. For paternity leave policy to achieve its goal, perception in the workplace also matters. ...
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This article provides an analysis of the impact of the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) relative to the Canadian parental leave program. Using a quasi-experimental design with survey data, we find that moth- ers spend on average 10 additional days with their newborn after the implementation of the insurance plan and that both mothers and fathers received higher benefits. Using both survey data and administrative data, we find that the QPIP has limited positive effects on children’s health and cognitive and behavioural development. Effects are concentrated among families of mothers with a post-secondary education. These results suggest that although paid benefits increased dramatically, the impacts on maternal time invest- ment and child well-being are modest.
... If employees perceive that their organizations positively support their WLB, they will be less afraid of making the wrong impression on their employers when taking leave. Tremblay and Genin (2010) also indicated the importance of making employees feel supported in taking parental leave; the effect of an employee's perception is relatively pervasive regardless of gender. In other words, with regard to this effect on the use of parental leave, there appears to be no gender difference. ...
Parental leave is one of most important policies for employees in nations like Japan that suffer from a low birthrate. Despite the various plans implemented by the Japanese government, fathers take significantly less parental leave than mothers. In the Japanese culture, which emphasizes gender role differentiation, male employees have a greater fear of providing unfavorable signals to employers regarding their dedication and performance if they take parental leave than female employees do. The present research examined data from 1553 Japanese employees, revealing that individual work and family factors influence the behaviors of female employees but not those of male employees. However, the perception of organizational support, which reduces employees' fear of giving employers the wrong impression when taking parental leave, has an impact on both male and female employees.
... Les recherches sur le sujet font ressortir le fait que les mères ont moins accès aux promotions et obtiennent une rémunération inférieure à celle des hommes durant leur carrière (Budig et England, 2001;Avellar et Smock, 2003). Elles ont très peu accès aux emplois hautement rémunérés et elles ont des difficultés à être réembauchées; les congés de maternité ont en conséquence des effets négatifs sur leur carrière (Mandel et Semyonov, 2005;Hersh et Stratton, 1994;Tremblay et Genin, 2010) et elles se voient moins souvent offrir une formation reliée à l'emploi (Hersh, 1991). Parmi d'autres conséquences d'une lourde charge familiale (plusieurs enfants ou encore présence d'enfants en bas âge) citées dans les recherches, mentionnons l'interruption de carrière, la perte d'expérience de travail, la baisse de productivité, de moindres gains d'emplois futurs, de même que l'occupation d'emplois peu rémunérés, à temps partiel contraint ou dont la qualification est faible ou non reliée aux compétences (Raley et autres, 2006;Avellar et Smock, 2003;Budig et England, 2001;Mandel et Semyonov, 2005;Hersh, 1991;Kalleberg & Rosenfeld, 1990). ...
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À partir d'une nouvelle typologie de la qualité de l'emploi en 12 groupes, nous analysons l'évolution de la situation des femmes du Québec (Canada) avec celle des hommes. L'analyse des résultats, qui portent sur la période 1997-2007, montre qu'il y a eu une amélioration de la qualité de l'emploi des femmes, peu importe leur scolarité et leur situation familiale et que cela s'est traduit par une réduction de l'écart avec les hommes. Toutefois, ces réductions ont été très prononcées dans le cas des personnes n'ayant pas de responsabilités familiales (baisses se situant entre 33 % et 44 %) mais sont demeurées beaucoup plus limitées pour ce qui est des personnes ayant des enfants en bas âge (baisses se situant entre 14 % et 15 %), illustrant ainsi l'effet de la parentalité sur la qualité de l'emploi.
2015 L'articulation des rapports sociaux de sexe, de classe et de race dans la migration et le travail des femmes haïtiennes JOSEPH Rose-Myrlie JOSEPH Rose-Myrlie, 2015, L'articulation des rapports sociaux de sexe, de classe et de race dans la migration et le travail des femmes haïtiennes Originally published at : Thesis, University of Lausanne Posted at the University of Lausanne Open Archive Document URN : urn:nbn:ch:serval-BIB_48416CEEA72A2 Droits d'auteur L'Université de Lausanne attire expressément l'attention des utilisateurs sur le fait que tous les documents publiés dans l'Archive SERVAL sont protégés par le droit d'auteur, conformément à la loi fédérale sur le droit d'auteur et les droits voisins (LDA). A ce titre, il est indispensable d'obtenir le consentement préalable de l'auteur et/ou de l'éditeur avant toute utilisation d'une oeuvre ou d'une partie d'une oeuvre ne relevant pas d'une utilisation à des fins personnelles au sens de la LDA (art. 19, al. 1 lettre a). A défaut, tout contrevenant s'expose aux sanctions prévues par cette loi. Nous déclinons toute responsabilité en la matière. Copyright The University of Lausanne expressly draws the attention of users to the fact that all documents published in the SERVAL Archive are protected by copyright in accordance with federal law on copyright and similar rights (LDA). Accordingly it is indispensable to obtain prior consent from the author and/or publisher before any use of a work or part of a work for purposes other than personal use within the meaning of LDA (art. 19, para. 1 letter a). Failure to do so will expose offenders to the sanctions laid down by this law. We accept no liability in this respect.
Prior to 2018, Canadian parents had access to 35 weeks of parental leave; but leave use is persistently gendered. We examine employee, employment, and organizational characteristics that influence use of parental leave by men in a Canadian law enforcement organization. Data from 97 managers and 234 male employees were analyzed using an explanatory sequential mixed methods approach. Employees received a top up to 93 percent of their salary when on leave, therefore illuminating factors, other than income loss, that influence fathers’ leave use. Logistic regression analysis showed that men who were younger, more educated, had a partner who was not in the labor force, and who had a positive attitude toward leave use were more likely to take parental leave. Managers’ were less positive than employees about men’s leave use. Thematic analysis of comments revealed a gendered perception, negative impact on the workplace, and concerns over misuse of parental leave.
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Paternity leave is part of the parental leave program. Paternity leave is a leave policy given to male workers by many reason, when childbirth or adopting a child. Paternity leave is essential for reconciling work and family life for men. In fact, paternity leave is still a debate in various countries. According to data from the World Labor Organization (ILO), in 2013 there have been 79 countries that set policy on paternity leave officially. The policies of these countries vary in terms of length of paid leave and salary payments. The paternity leave range varies from one day up to 90 days. In general, developed countries have paternity leave provisions better than others. As for salary payments, most countries set full wage payments, but others without payments. During paternity leave, fathers can interact with their children directly and build bounding attachments. Bounding attachment involves the process of enhancing the affectionate and inner attachments between parents and infants. Some things that can build bounding attachment between father and child is through the giving of touch and play together.Keyword: paternity leave, bonding attachment Abstrak: Paternity leave merupakan salah satu bagian dari program parental leave. Paternity leave adalah kebijakan cuti yang diberikan kepada pekerja laki-laki dengan alasan istri melahirkan atau pun karena mangadopsi anak. Paternity leave sangat penting untuk merekonsiliasi kehidupan kerja dan keluarga bagi pekerja laki-laki. Dalam praktiknya, paternity leave masih menjadi perdebatan di berbagai negara. Menurut data organisasi buruh dunia (ILO), pada tahun 2013 sudah ada 79 negara yang menetapkan kebijakan mengenai paternity leave secara resmi. Kebijakan negara-negara tersebut bervariasi dalam hal lama cuti yang diberikan dan pembayaran gaji/upah. Rentang waktu paternity leave bervariasi dari mulai satu hari sampai 90 hari. Secara umum negara maju mempunyai ketentuan paternity leave lebih baik daripada yang lainnya. Adapun mengenai pembayaran gaji atau upah, sebagian besar negaranegara menetapkan pembayaran upah penuh, namun ada pula yang tanpa pembayaran. Selama masa paternity leave, ayah dapat berinteraksi lebih dini dengan anak-anak mereka secara langsung dan membangun bounding attachment. Bounding attachment meliputi proses peningkatan hubungan kasih sayang dan keterikatan batin antara orang tua dan bayi. Beberapa hal yang dapat membentuk bounding attachment antara ayah dan anak adalah melalui pemberian sentuhan dan bermain bersama.Kata kunci: paternity leave, bounding attachment
Although it is recognised that fathers play an important role which begins during pregnancy and that their state of mind influences the way they carry out this role, there are few studies concerning the psychic process of becoming a father. Our research brings light to this theme with a study of the changes in the men’s representations concerning their own father, mother, spouse and themselves during this period. The data have been gathered from four interviews with seven men between the sixth month pre-partum and the fifth month post-partum. The data have undergone a semi-automatic content analysis, the results of which suggest that the psychic work of becoming a father can be categorized in different layers. We have obtained two series of results leading us to imagine two types of psychic work: one which is organised according to generational logic and the other, according to logic of the maternal and paternal lineage representations.
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Our research focuses on verifying to what extent the practice of law has evolved over the years with regard to balancing work and family in different work environments and types of practice. We chose to do qualitative research, using interviews, in order to better understand the career paths of individuals and the reasons for their professional and familial choices. We were able to determine that lawyers often benefit from more autonomy and greater flexibility in organizing their work time. However, when they start having children and they have to balance work with family life, lawyers-especially women-develop strategies to "meet billable hour targets" and perform better, without infringing too much on their personal or family time. This can be achieved not only by deferring tasks but also by intensifying time spent at the office, eliminating lunch breaks, using voice mail, eliminating coffee breaks and exchanging with colleagues, and so on. The interference of work on family/personal life is not always experienced negatively by lawyers because it seems to be internalized by everyone. One may certainly wonder about the impact of these strategies for managing work time (intensification, deferring) on careers.
Technical Report
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The LPR research produces an annual review of leave policies and related research, starting in 2004. The review covers Maternity, Paternity and Parental leaves; leave to care for sick children and other employment-related measures to support working parents; and early childhood education and care policy. As well as policies, it provides information on publications and research. The review is based on country notes from each participating country. Each country note follows a standard format: details of different types of leave; the relationship between leave policy and early childhood education and care policy; recent policy developments; information on take-up of leave; recent publications and current research projects. The review also includes definitions of the main types of leave policies; and cross-country comparisons. These comparative overviews cover: each main type of leave; total leave available; the relationship between leave and ECEC entitlements; policy changes and developments since the previous review; The 2018 review covers altogether 43 countries. These are: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Belgium, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America and Uruguay.
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An examination of the literature on conflict between work and family roles suggests that work-family conflict exists when: (a) time devoted to the requirements of one role makes it difficult to fulfill requirements of another; (b) strain from participation in one role makes it difficult to fulfill requirements of another; and (c) specific behaviors required by one role make it difficult to fulfill the requirements of another. A model of work-family conflict is proposed, and a series of research propositions is presented.
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Comme le probleme de l’articulation emploi-famille s’est intensifie recemment, nous nous sommes interesses a cette question sous l’angle des mesures de conciliation offertes et, surtout, sous celui du temps de travail. Contrairement a la plupart des autres recherches, la notre ne se limite pas a la presence de mesures dans les organisations, mais s’interesse aux criteres d’acces et aux modes d’utilisation de ces mesures. Nous montrons que les mesures offertes dans les organisations quebecoises sont assez limitees, sur le plan qualitatif et sur celui de l’acces, et que l’usage qu’en font les hommes et les femmes est different. Enfin, nous concluons en exposant les limites de cette recherche et presentons des avenues a explorer dans des recherches futures.
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An examination of the literature on conflict between work and family roles suggests that work-family conflict exists when: (a) time devoted to the requirements of one role makes it difficult to fulfill requirements of another; (b) strain from participation in one role makes it difficult to fulfill requirements of another; and (c) specific behaviors required by one role make it difficult to fulfill the requirements of another. A model of work-family conflict is proposed, and a series of research propositions is presented.
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As workers strive to manage multiple roles such as work and family, research has begun to focus on how people manage the boundary between work and nonwork roles. This paper contributes to emerging work on boundary theory by examining the extent to which individuals desire to integrate or segment their work and nonwork lives. This desire is conceptualized and measured on a continuum ranging from segmentation (i.e., separation) to integration (i.e., blurring) of work and nonwork roles. We examine the fit between individuals' desires for integration/segmentation and their access to policies that enable boundary management, suggesting that more policies may not always be better in terms of job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Using survey methodology and a sample of 460 employees, we found that desire for greater segmentation does moderate the relationship between the organizational policies one has access to and individuals' satisfaction and commitment. People who want more segmentation are less satisfied and committed to the organization when they have greater access to integrating policies (e.g., onsite childcare) than when they have less access to such policies. Conversely, people who want greater segmentation are more committed when they have greater access to segmenting policies (e.g., flextime) than when they have less access to such policies. Moreover, the fit between desire for segmentation and organizational policy has an effect on satisfaction and commitment over and above the effects of demographic characteristics such as age, gender, marital status, income, number of children, and the ages of those children.
A review of past research revealed inconsistent findings concerning the relationship between job involvement and work?family conflict. This study tested whether family involvement moderates the relationship between job involvement and work?family conflict. Two types of family involvement (spouse and parent) and two types of work?family conflict (job?spouse and job?parent) were assessed. Data were gathered via questionnaire from a sample of nonteaching professionals employed by a large public university in the northeastern United States. As hypothesized, job involvement and job?spouse conflict were positively related for individuals high in spouse involvement and unrelated for individuals low in spouse involvement. Contrary to prediction, parental involvement did not moderate the relationship between job involvement and job?parent conflict. Instead, job involvement was positively related to job?parent conflict regardless of the level of parental involvement. Results are discussed in terms of standards for role performance and strength of role demands. Implications for future research are also discussed.
Résumé Partant d’une collecte de données de première main auprès de 48 moyennes et grandes organisations et entreprises privées installées en Wallonie (Belgique), cet article établit une première photographie de l’utilisation ou non par les travailleurs et travailleuses de mesures institutionnelles visant à soutenir l’articulation de la vie professionnelle et de la vie familiale (congé de maternité, congé de paternité, congé parental, etc.). Il identifie et comptabilise également les dispositifs extra-légaux mis en place par les organisations. Toutefois, au-delà de cette perspective descriptive, quoi qu’utile car n’existant pas à l’heure actuelle, il aborde la question des « rapports organisationnels » différenciés à l’égard de ces dispositifs. Ainsi, trois groupes d’organisations ont été identifiés. Un premier groupe que nous qualifions de « juste légaliste », un deuxième de « réticent » et, enfin, un troisième groupe qui est qualifié de « proactif » puisqu’il se démarque par la mise en place de dispositifs extra-légaux et témoigne d’un usage plus fréquent de congés moins institués comme les crédit-temps ou les congés pour soins palliatifs. Ces résultats de recherche soulignent l’utilité de poursuivre l’étude de la « médiation organisationnelle » entre les mesures institutionnelles et les comportements individuels.
Although research on work-family conflict has grown, empirical investigations have frequently been a theoretical and lacking in measurement rigor. The objective of this study was to develop a conceptually and methodologically sound measure of work to family conflict (W -* FC). Data were collected from three independent sources, and both exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted, which supported a theoretically grounded measure of W -e FC. Confirmatory factor analysis indicated that a three-factor model, including time-, strain-, and behavior-based dimensions of W -> FC, was superior to both a two-factor and a single-factor (null) model.