You are here

Sharing parental leave among dual-earner couples in Canada: Does reserved paternity leave make a difference?

TitleSharing parental leave among dual-earner couples in Canada: Does reserved paternity leave make a difference?
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsMayer, M., and Le Bourdais C.
JournalPopulation Research and Policy Review
Pages215 - 239
Keywordscanada, family policy, gender equality, maternity leave, parental benefits, parental leave, paternity leave

In 2006, Quebec became the first Canadian province to offer non-transferable paternity leave to fathers. The availability of this five-week leave distinguishes the province from the rest of the country, where only maternity and parental leave are available. Using data from Statistics Canada's 2011 General Social Survey, the authors investigate to what extent the availability of reserved paternity leave and couples' conjugal union type affect the probability of fathers taking leave and the duration of leave. Among couples in which at least one parent took leave, descriptive analysis shows that 75% of Quebec fathers took leave, whereas only 50% of fathers elsewhere in Canada took leave. Both parents received wage replacement benefits in nearly 60% of cases in Quebec, but in only 8% of cases in other provinces. Multivariate analysis confirms that the availability of paternity leave is positively linked to the higher likelihood of Quebec fathers taking leave compared to fathers in other provinces. However, paternity leave is negatively associated with fathers' duration of leave, as well as that of mothers. Married fathers were more likely than cohabiting fathers to take parental leave in provinces outside Quebec, but not in Quebec. Among other variables, we find that education levels of mothers, gender-role attitudes (approached through sharing of housework), number of children, and family type significantly affect the likelihood of fathers taking leave. Duration of leave appears more closely associated with differences between partners in terms of age and income for mothers, and of education for both parents.

Publication Type
Contract ID
Publication language(s)