Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy

No 2015:18: Care more, earn less? The association between care leave for sick children and wage among Swedish parents

Katarina Boye ()
Additional contact information
Katarina Boye: Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University, Postal: Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: A number of studies have shown that women’s and men’s wages relate to parenthood in general and to parental leave in particular, but we know little about the possible wage impact of leave to care for sick children, which is a part of the Swedish parental leave system. On the one hand, care leave may influence human capital and real or perceived work capacity similarly to parental leave and send the employer the same signals about work commitment and responsibilities outside of work. On the other hand, important differences, including timing, frequency and predictability, between care leave and parental leave influence paid work. This study uses Swedish register data to analyse the association between care leave and wages among mothers and fathers who had their first child in 1994. The results show that care leave is associated with a lower wage, particularly among men, up to 13 years after the birth of the first child. One reason for the gender difference in the association between care leave and wage may be that men’s care leave has a stronger signalling effect compared with women’s care leave.

Keywords: Care leave; parental leave; wages; gender equality; family; labour market

JEL-codes: J13; J16

32 pages, September 14, 2015

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