A Closer Look

Paternity Leave / What happens when men cut back on work to fulfill family obligations?

Research shows that working men and women tend to make different adjustments when they become parents. Women typically resolve work-family conflicts by reducing their work hours, whereas men typically increase their work hours. And when women take maternity leave or temporarily cut back to part-time, many employers, rightly or wrongly, perceive them to be less committed to their jobs. The women end up on a “mommy track,” where they earn less than non-mothers and single men—and substantially less than married fathers. In fact, when men become parents, their earnings tend to go up.

So what happens when men cut back on work to fulfill family obligations? To answer that question, my colleagues and I drew on survey data from over 12,000 U.S. respondents, collected in biannual interviews over 28 years, from the time when they were teenagers until they were in their 40s. Our main research question was whether men who reduced or restructured their workplace commitments could expect lower earnings than men who didn’t. We controlled for a host of other variables to isolate the specific effects of taking time off to care for family members.

We found that although the magnitude of the earnings loss is greater for women, men who reduce their work hours or take time off for family reasons are also likely to experience lower earnings over the course of their working lives. In other words, taking time off for family carries financial risk for men, just as it does for women.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at 

The Atlantic

via The Risky Business of Paternity Leave – Scott Coltrane – The Atlantic.

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