Stockholm University
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Parental leave in Sweden - a workplace issue?

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posted on 2021-06-24, 14:21 authored by Elisabet Näsman
The purpose of this paper is to analyse the impact of the options regarding parental leave in Sweden as seen from parents' as well as employers' point of view.
The first part of the paper gives a background to the topic by describing the modern Swedish family. The second part focus to what extent workplace conditions have an impact on the patterns of parental leave, and further what impact parental leave has on the workplace and the worklife conditions of the parents. Results a presented from a project including among other parts, a questionnaire to the parents of 1,000 children born in 1986, and to 258 employers.
Parents use the parental leave rights to a large extent and a majority of them do not see any major problems at their workplace in that connection. Employers see an economic loss and administrative difficulties in dealing with the leaves but nevertheless sometimes offer parents opportunities exceeding the legal rights. These options are not only part of formal agreements but are also included in informal contracts at the workplaces.
Negative experiences concern a minority of parents, but quite a number of fathers mention obstacles to them taking parental leave, the workload seem to be heavy among many parents who reduce their working hours and further quite a number of men and women who have been on parental leave, a negative impact on one of the following: development of their wages, opportunities for on-site education and opportunities for becoming more qualified at work. Furthermore, for almost half of the women who were transferred or had their tasks changed after parental leave, these changes were for the worse.
Parents who see a negative impact of their leaves on their working conditions rarely turn to their union for assistance, and unions do not in general take part in the decision-making about parental leave. Parental leave, traditionally an issue mostly for women, is mainly dealt with as a ·private issue, for the employer and the individual parent to negotiate about with the aim of consent and mutual adapting.


Stockholm University




Original title

Parental leave in Sweden - a workplace issue?

Original language

  • English

Publication date


Affiliation (institution of first SU-affiliated author)

  • 310 Sociologiska institutionen | Department of Sociology