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Paternity leave in Québec: between social objectives and workplace challenges

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Since 2006, fathers in Québec (the French-speaking province of Canada) have had the right to 5 weeks of non-transferable paternity leave, as well as the right to take an additional 32 weeks of leave that must be negotiated with mothers, under the Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP). We describe the positive impacts of this important public policy and explore the challenges that await in the future application of the QPIP. By combining the results of two series of interviews that studied Québec fathers’ use of parental leave, we portray tensions experienced by fathers in the companies they work for. Our research shows that some fathers encounter opposition and important challenges in their work environment if they choose to go beyond the five weeks of non-transferable paternity leave. While we found that fathers will sometimes force their employers to accept the duration and timing of leave that best suits the fathers’ families, some fathers are obligated to negotiate leave terms and are forced into a compromise in order to keep their reputation as ‘good’ employees.
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Keywords: Congé de paternité; Paternity leave; Québec; conciliation travail-famille; congé parental; parental leave; work–family balance

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Doctoral Student of Sociology, Laval University, Québec, Canada 2: Labour Economics, Innovation and Human Resources Management, TELUQ, University of Québec, Québec, Canada

Publication date: May 26, 2020

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