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Comparing the availability of paid parental leave for same-sex and different-sex couples in 34 OECD countries

Research paper by ELIZABETH WONG, JUDY JOU, AMY RAUB, JODY HEYMANN

Indexed on: 19 Jun '20Published on: 01 Jul '20Published in: Journal of social policy



Abstract

The availability of paid family leave has been widely researched in the context of a two-parent household with one mother and one father, yet few studies have explored whether households with same-sex parents have access to equal benefits. Expanding on previous cross-country comparisons of parental leave policies, this study examines parental leave policies in 34 OECD countries to compare the total duration of paid parental leave available to same-sex and different-sex parent families within a country. We find that same-sex female and different-sex couples receive equal durations of leave in the majority of countries. However, same-sex male couples often receive shorter durations of paid parental leave compared to both different-sex and same-sex female couples. In addition to addressing the implications of laws and policies surrounding same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption on parental leave availability, we highlight specific aspects of paid leave policies that may explain the unequal durations of paid leave between same-sex and different-sex couples.