The Gendering Effects of Sweden's Gender-neutral Care Leave Policy


The current gender-neutral care leave for care of sick children program in Sweden provides parents with a substantial number of publicly paid days per year. These are used when parents have to be absent from work to care for a sick child who cannot attend public childcare. Although gender neutral from the start, women still take the majority of days. We investigate whether the existing policy design plays a role in the division of leave. We study the income cap in the program using individual-level register data for the years 2005 and 2006. We show that there seems to be a clear effect of the income cap on the division of leave: if only one partner has an income below the cap, he/she uses the majority of days. However, analyses of a policy change that raised the cap reveal no effect on the division of leave.