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Paid paternity leave-taking in the United States

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Surprisingly few studies have focused on paternity leave-taking in the US. This study utilizes data from three national datasets to provide a comprehensive examination of the attitudes, practices and predictors of paid paternity leave-taking in the US. Specifically, this study focuses on (a) describing attitudes towards fathers receiving a share of paid parental leave, (b) describing rates and lengths of paid paternity leave-taking and (c) analyzing the extent to which economic capital, cultural capital, social capital and father identities predict paternity leave-taking practices. The results indicate that most people support fathers receiving a share of paid parental leave in the US. Yet, rates of paid paternity leave-taking are relatively low and the majority of fathers who take paid leave take only one week or less. Economic capital, cultural capital, social capital and father identities that prioritize engaged fathering are positively associated with taking paid leave and taking longer periods of leave. Overall, the results emphasize that the current structure of US paternity leave policies seems to limit access to paid paternity leave and contribute to patterns of inequality due to more advantaged fathers having greater access and ability to take paid paternity leave than less advantaged fathers.
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Keywords: Licencia de paternidad; Paternity leave; equilibrio de vida laboral-familiar; fatherhood; paternidad; política pública; public policy; work–family balance

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA 2: Department of Sociology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

Publication date: March 14, 2020

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