Parental Leave for Fathers to Strengthen Families: Trailblazing Sweden and Japan; Reluctant Ireland and USA

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 16:30
Oral Presentation
Rudy SEWARD, University of North Texas, USA
Michael RUSH, School of Applied Social Science, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland
Granting employment leave has become one of the primary policy and program efforts by governments and businesses to increase fathers’ family involvement and reduce work family conflict. Most advanced capitalistic high income nations have some form of employment leave available to parents in conjunction with childbirth and early child care but options vary by nation, gender, type, and funding. Most East Asian, Western and East European capitalist nations now offer some paid leave, on the birth of a child, as part of their modern social care infrastructures. Parental leave is widely understood to be an important part of the tool-kit for running a modern state but development and implementation varies a great deal. The United States of America (USA) and English-speaking welfare states, like Ireland, lag behind Sweden and Japan, among others, in the provision and individualization of well-paid parental leave and related program to promote work family balance and gender equality. The trail blazing and generous options in Sweden, a Nordic welfare state, and Japan, an East Asian Welfare State underscore underdevelopment of leave options in Ireland and USA. Lack of paid employment leave options related to birth of a child for USA fathers beyond vacation, sick, and personal days are in line with Irish fathers’ options and for fathers in the majority of low income nations. Most research on long standing Swedish and Japanese social policies and programs indicate a profound positive effects on fathering and in turn families. Documentation of vast socio-economic and public health benefits of parents taking leave for children, themselves, families, employers, and societies is a clarion call for further development of leave options. Historical, cultural, economic, and geographical factors have all contributed to the USA and Ireland falling behind almost all other advanced capitalistic countries nations in the development of nationwide paid leave.