INCHER Kolloquium: „Parental leave and discrimination on the labor market“
Parental leave taken by fathers is seen as a promising means to promote gender equality. Many countries have thus introduced periods of paid parental leave that are earmarked to fathers. While there is a large literature on the negative consequences of employment interruptions on the careers of women, we still know very little about the labor market effects of parental leave for men. In this paper, we employ a correspondence study to analyze whether there is discrimination of fathers who take short (2 months) or long (12 months) parental leave in three different occupations. Based on more than 8,000 observations that were collected from September 2019 to August 2021, our results show that fathers in female dominated or gender-neutral occupations do not have a lower probability to be invited to a job interview as compared to fathers who do not indicate to have taken parental leave, irrespective of the leave duration. On the other hand, fathers in male-dominated jobs are less likely to be invited to a job interview when they indicate that they have taken long parental leave in the past. In these jobs, however, fathers who take a long leave are still more likely to be invited to interviews than mothers, irrespective of their leave duration. These results hint at strong prevailing social norms with respect to gender roles in certain occupations and workplaces.