Immigrants and the ‘caring father’: Inequality in access to and utilisation of parental leave in Norway
In an article in Ethnicities, Anne Lise Ellingsæter, Ragni Hege Kitterød and Kjersti Misje Østbakken present their findings on immigrant fathers' utilisation of parental leave in Norway.
How do parental leave rights and interacting societal structures influence immigrant fathers’ compliance with the ‘caring father’ model—typifying Nordic welfare states? Nordic parental leave schemes differ; this study investigated the impact of the Norwegian policy. Strong, stratifying effects related to access, particularly unfavourable for non-Western immigrant fathers, were demonstrated. These effects stemmed not only from the scheme being based on work performance criteria, but also from fathers’ rights being conditioned on mothers’ economic activity. Moreover, the observed gap between eligible immigrant and native-born fathers in the take-up of the father quota (the part of leave earmarked for fathers) was explored further. The gap was associated with weaker individual resources; however, ethnic labour market segregation played a significant role. The gap narrowed with the increased duration of stay of these fathers, suggesting that adaptation processes also are involved. The analysis is based on high-quality register data of all partnered men who became fathers in Norway in 2011, following them until their child was three years old in 2014.