Fathers' Leave and Fathers' Involvement: Evidence from Four OECD Countries

Maria C. Huerta, Willem Adema, Jennifer Baxter, Wen Jui Han, Mette Lausten, Raehyuck Lee, Jane Waldfogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years, several OECD countries have taken steps to promote policies encouraging fathers to spend more time caring for young children, thereby promoting a more gender equal division of care work. Evidence, mainly for the United States and United Kingdom, has shown fathers taking some time off work around childbirth are more likely to be involved in childcare related activities than fathers who do not take time off. This article reports on a first cross-national analysis of the association between fathers' leave taking and fathers' involvement when children are young. It uses birth cohort data of children born around 2000 from four OECD countries: Australia, Denmark, the United Kingdom and the United States. Results show that the majority of fathers take time off around childbirth independent of the leave policies in place. In all countries, except Denmark, important socio-economic differences between fathers who take leave and those who do not are observed. In addition, fathers who take leave, especially those taking two weeks or more, are more likely to carry out childcare related activities when children are young. This study adds to the evidence that suggests that parental leave for fathers is positively associated with subsequent paternal involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-346
Number of pages39
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Security
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Australia
  • Denmark
  • birth cohort studies
  • child development
  • childcare
  • early years
  • parental leave
  • paternal involvement
  • the United Kingdom
  • the United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Public Administration


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