Equal Rights to Earn and Care- the Case of Iceland

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 16:45
Oral Presentation
Gudny EYDAL, Faculty of Social work, University of Iceland, Iceland
Ingolfur GISLASON, University of Iceland, Iceland
Icelandic law from 2000 provided parents with equal entitlements to paid parental leave. The explicit aim of the legislation was twofold: to ensure that children enjoy the care of both parents; and to offer both parents the opportunity to coordinate family and work life (Act on Maternity/Paternity and Parental Leave no. 95/2000). The aim of the paper is to examine what changes these policies have brought in Iceland. How have fathers utilized their entitlements to parental leave and how do the parents share the joint entitlements? Does the legislation enhance parents to share the care of their children and to co-ordinate family and work life? Finally the chapter will examine the effects of the 2008 economic crisis on the policies.

Icelandic fathers have made use of their quota rights, even though the cuts in the benefits after the crisis resulted in lower take up rates. The data used in the study is quantitative data, both from four surveys among Icelandic parents of first borns in 1997, 2003, 2009 and 2017. The suveys provide information about how the parents have devided the care between them for the first three years after birth and how they arrange their participation in the labour market. The paper also makes use of qualitative interviews with parents in order to gain knowledge about why they hae chosen to divide care and work out side the family the way they did. Hence the paper investigates policies and the practices of parents .