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Parental Leave Usage By Fathers And Mothers At An American University
Journal of Fathering (2012)
  • Jennifer H. Lundquist, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
  • Joya Misra, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
  • KerryAnn O'Meara, University of Maryland - College Park

While many U.S. research universities now offer gender neutral family friendly policies, very few are what might be considered “father friendly.” Campus cultures rarely encourage men to access these policies, or do so reluctantly because some campus actors believe men will use parental leave time for their research instead of for childcare. We employ quantitative and qualitative data to compare the parental leave experiences of men and women faculty at a large research university. In doing so, we assess whether the allegation that men take unfair advantage parental leave is true at a large research university. We find that it is not. In our sample, relatively few men take paid leave. Those who do take it, however, have partners who work fulltime. Importantly, we find that among those taking parental leave, both fathers and mothers report engaging in care as well as some degree of ongoing research activity. Men and women faculty alike report that the cessation from teaching and service obligations provided by parental leave allows them to maintain a modicum of their research agenda despite caring for an infant. We also analyze what the other primary predictors of leave-taking are for faculty, and find that women and men engaged in science and math disciplines are among the least likely to use their paid leave benefits upon having a child. We conclude with a discussion of the merits of paternity and maternity leave and discuss how parental leave policy might be best formulated.

  • caregiving,
  • faculty,
  • family policy,
  • gender,
  • parental leave
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Citation Information
Jennifer H. Lundquist, Joya Misra and KerryAnn O'Meara. "Parental Leave Usage By Fathers And Mothers At An American University" Journal of Fathering (2012)
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