Preprints are manuscripts made publicly available before they have been submitted for formal peer review and publication. They might contain new research findings or data. Preprints can be a draft or final version of an author's research but must not have been accepted for publication at the time of submission.
Parental leave in Sweden can be
taken both as paid and unpaid leave and often parents mix these forms in a very
flexible way. Therefore, multiple methodological issues arise regarding how to
measure leave length in the most accurate way. This study reviews the somewhat
complex legislation and the possible ways of using the leave before presenting
a successful attempt of a more precise measure of leave lengths, including paid
and unpaid days, for mothers and fathers. The study makes use of administrative
data for a complete cohort of parents to first born children in 2009 in Sweden.
We examine what characteristics are associated with use of paid and unpaid
leave for mothers and fathers during the first two years of the child’s life,
focusing particularly on how individual and household income is associated with
leave patterns. We found that among mothers, low income is associated with many
paid leave days while middle income is associated with most unpaid days. High
income mothers use a shorter leave. Among fathers it is the both ends with high
and low household income that uses most paid and unpaid leave. A measure that
includes unpaid parental leave will be important to not underestimate the
parental leave and to not make faulty comparisons between groups by gender and
by socioeconomic status. A measure of parental leave including both paid and
unpaid leave will also facilitate international comparisons of leave length.